Recycled Art: Collage

Recycled art is not something that’s beautiful but just a waste of time and space. It’s like alchemy which turns base metal into gold, except that it turns trashes into gold.

In this day and age, recycling is something that is regarded as extremely important. The government leads us to believe that we are doing something good for the environment by placing paper, cardboard, plastic bottles etc into specially labelled bins. In actually fact, recycling is something that humans have been doing for centuries – it is human nature to reuse things, make-do-and-mend or just “I think I’ll put this broken thing in the shed, it may come in handy one day.”

Recycling can also play a role in art. Every artist is always creating some new – a new portrait, a new landscape painting, a new drawing and so forth. In fact, it is impossible to produce something old. The methods in which the artist goes about making their masterpiece, however, is not limited to new materials. Using pre-existing materials within artworks has become fairly popular in recent years. One such method is collage – a combination of materials stuck onto a backing to produce a picture or pattern.

Derek Gores

American artist Derek Gores, encompasses the idea of recycling in his captivating collages.  From using very simple materials – magazines and labels amongst other printed elements – Gores creates realistic images. From a distance, some of his work could be mistaken for photographs, which is amazing considering that they are nothing but cut up pieces of paper.

Gores is mostly influenced by past abstract painters – those whose works have so much going on, it is difficult to completely focus on the overall picture without being distracted by the odd element. Although his work is not abstract in the same sense, there is so much to look at due to the significant amount of collaged parts, that it becomes impossible to view in the same way one might look at a photograph or painting.

Whether or not Gores is possibly contributing to the environmentally conscious world through his use of recycled material is up for debate, but it is admittedly a fantastic and beautiful way of doing so. Anyone can cut up paper and stick it down, yet to create such vivid, lifelike images is a very rare skill – something for us all to be jealous of!

Essay Resources

As part of my Graphic Design degree I had to write four essays (not including dissertation and proposals). In some ways I enjoyed writing these as it gave me the opportunity to learn new things. My essays varied on subjects from Bauhaus and illustration to sustainable design.

For those studying the same subject, or thinking of taking it up, I thought I would share with you a few of the books I bought to help me with my writing.

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Clean New World: Culture, Politics and Graphic Design

By Maud Lavin

This book is great for research into political aspects of graphic design. Lavin reveals the political influence on design from democracy to anti-Nazi propaganda. There are also chapters that focus on women designers and their contemporary activist work.

 

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Digital and Video Art
by Florence de Mèredieu

I purchased this book with the hope that it would help me to argue whether graphic design counts as an art form. It had a few helpful quotes and prompted me to research further in to particular designers and theorists. However it mostly focuses on computer graphics rather than graphic design or digital illustration.

 

 

 

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A Designer’s Research Manual: Succeed in Design by Knowing Your Clients and What They Really Need
by Jennifer Visocky O’Grady and Ken O’Grady

It was recommended by my tutor that I buy this book, not for essay writing, but for help with research. It provides a step -by-step guide about how to go about seeking the information you need. This is particularly helpful when you are tasked with writing your own brief for a project – something I had to do in my final year, and many designers have to do during their careers.

 

 

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British Posters: Advertising, Art & Activism
by Catherine Flood

I recommend this book for anyone interested in poster design regardless of whether or not you have an essay to write. It contains a vast selection of British posters from the V&A collection from 1945 through to the present day. It covers various advertising companies and countercultural groups, including the “Keep Britain Tidy” campaign, hand-printed punk posters, public art projects and the more recent political advertisements.

 

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Graphic Style: From Victorian to New Century
by Steven Heller and Seymour Chwast

Finally, if you’re looking for information about different styles of graphic design then this is the book you need. Admittedly there is not a lot you can quote, however it gives enough information to help you further your research. Beginning with the typical styles of pre-war graphic design, Heller and Chwast talk you through every art movement and development until the digital design of the 2000s. Accompanied by plenty of relevant images, this book provides a great insight into the changes and directions that graphic design has taken.

Naturally, I used hundreds more books and websites in my bibliographies, but these were a few of my favourites. I hope you also find them interesting whether as essay resources or a source of personal enjoyment.