Author: Imogen Aldridge

Stick With It: Discover the Art of Collage

“Collage is the noble conquest of the irrational, the coupling of two realities.” - Max Ernst

To put it simply, collage is the act of collating and securing ephemera to a piece of paper. However, its position in the history of art runs much deeper than this straightforward explanation. Starting with the Cubist movement, collage was embraced as a way to transform and revitalise a work of art. We take a look at artists who are champions of this technique, exploring the multitude of ways in which collage can be used. 

The history of collage dates back as far as the 10th Century, but its use by Modern artists catapulted its popularity to new heights. In the early Twentieth Century, Cubist artists such as Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque began to glue materials like paper and cloth to their paintings, but it was the Surrealists that truly embraced the art form. Revelling in collage’s ability to create entirely new - and often confusing abstract - depictions of reality, the Surrealists took the art of collage under their wing. But perhaps the best-known use of this famed technique was by the Pop Art movement. Artists like Richard Hamilton and Peter Blake used this art form in a playful way, as a method of bridging the gap between high art and popular culture. 

Collage has become a relatable art and iconic technique that is still used today. Contemporary artists have revived this old craft through the form of digital collage, breathing new life into a much-loved form of art. The artists in this viewing room practice both the traditional and modernised methods of collage, using this creative technique to tell their own story. Whether it be to promote feminism, decontruct popular imagery or explore feelings of nostalgia, artists such as Peter Blake, Linder and Oli Mumby use collage to create personal artworks that are explorative and intriguing.

We take a deeper look at some of our favourite collage artists:

Stick With It: Discover the Art of Collage | Image

Stick With It: Discover the Art of Collage | Image

Linder

Linder Sterling is a British artist best known for her photomontage and collage artworks that challenge societies’ depiction and treatment of women. A self-proclaimed radical feminist, Linder combines images of nude women with miscellaneous objects such as shells or household objects, using these cut outs to preserve the womens’ modesty. Linder’s cut-and-paste technique is a Dada-esque commentary on the position of women in society. Originally making a name for herself with her collages in the British punk scene, Linder takes the Pop Art influence of Richard Hamilton’s collages, and imbues her artworks with a strong feminist narrative.

Stick With It: Discover the Art of Collage | Image

Stick With It: Discover the Art of Collage | Image

Peter Blake

Sir Peter Blake, best known as the Godfather of Pop Art, is celebrated for his boundary-pushing collage artworks. Throughout his seven-decade career, collage has been at the heart of Blake’s artwork. From his depictions of popular figures to his chaotic paper-pasted collages, the iconic British artist masters the art of assemblage. Blake uses his collages to pay homage to music greats, pop culture legends and influential artists, creating artworks that are buzzing with energy and joy. Blake breaks down boundaries between high and low art, allowing the layman to understand and find recognisable figures and features in his collage pieces. Want to discover more about the legend that is Peter Blake? Read our deep dive into the artist here.

 

Stick With It: Discover the Art of Collage | Image

Stick With It: Discover the Art of Collage | Image

Bonnie and Clyde

Contemporary artist Bonnie and Clyde creates colourful collages of landscapes. Using photography, paper and paint, the artist brings to life her eccentric cityscapes and beach scenes using her talent for multimedia. Embracing the bizarre, Bonnie and Clyde combines multiple methods of artmaking to create a layered collage that reflects the dynamic scenes of her surrounding environment. We love how she embellishes her landscapes with elements of personal inspiration such as film, music and popular iconography, giving them a Surrealist twist that transports the viewer to another reality. Bonnie and Clyde gives her audience a personal outlook on these public city spaces, all through the medium of collage.

 

Stick With It: Discover the Art of Collage | Image

Stick With It: Discover the Art of Collage | Image

Oli Mumby

Oli Mumby is a multimedia artist, working most recently in collage and intricate paper cutouts. Mumby creates artwork that reflects the way that he observes his surroundings, finding unique patterns in the ripples of water or swaying of trees. Encouraging viewers to recognise the details that often go unnoticed in everyday life, Mumby uses his collage artwork to question the way we view our environments. Using collage, Mumby pieces together his own rendition of landscapes from pieces of ripped paper, pastels and pencils. We love how Mumby uses collage to create semi-abstract artworks that are ‘about’ somewhere, rather than a direct copy of a place. Discover Oli's artwork here.

 

Stick With It: Discover the Art of Collage | Image

Stick With It: Discover the Art of Collage | Image

Nick Smith

Contemporary artist Nick Smith repurposes iconic artworks, deconstructing each image and recreating them with small pixel-like shapes. Collaging back together the original image, but with a signature twist, Smith meticulously creates a new distorted picture from the remnants of the old one. Smith’s handmade collages explore complex art-historical concepts, often taking the artworks of famous artists, such as Andy Warhol’s iconic ‘Marilyn’ screenprint, and dissecting and reassembling them. We love how Smith uses collage to reimagine famous imagery, challenging our perceptions and bringing collage into the 21st century with his pixelated digital methods. Smith deliberately leaves his collage constructions open to viewer interpretation, sparking new debates and meanings.

Explore our wide range of collage art from our talented artists here.

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