The art is more fulfilling on the other side of the studio

I feel like my approach to artmaking could be more easily compared to a scout collecting merit badges, than an artisan pursuing meaning or proficiency. Every year It’s a crapshoot as to what medium will feel engaging, and this year, at least so far, it seems to be collage.

This ain’t my first rodeo, I already had a whole folder of collage material ready to get started with. I’m really bad at visualizing ideas without references, so I collect images and use them as a base for works.

I chose a method of collaging that preserves the cutouts, allowing me to reuse and rearrange them. I got a panel of foam board, and taped a sheet of clear acetate to the top, leaving it to sit like a flap. Then I can arrange my cutouts on the foam board until I’m happy, and when I’m ready, press the acetate down, flip it over onto a scanner, and scan it at a high resolution. I then can take It into photoshop, set the white balance and adjust the levels to replicate how it looks in the real world.

A few troubles I had to work through early on.

I originally though that using glass would be the best solution, so using the glass from an old picture frame I sandwiched the collage together. Unfortunately when I scanned the image it came out quite blurry! This might not be the case with all glass, but it’s what I found

Troubles with large files! when scanning I aimed to capture the files at 2400 DPI. Opening and working on files this large can be difficult, photoshop seemed to have a lot of trouble with it. I found the program GIMP allowed me to open the files, which would let me at least resize it to around the final print size. This most likely has some effect on the final quality, but honestly the files are so detailed I think you still are left with quality images.

Sometimes when flipping the foam board to scan shifting can occur, which van be frustrating. I found that if its possible at all, arranging the collage face down on the scanner bed fixed this problem. If I absolutely had to use the foam board, I would blow hot air on the acetate, causing a bit of condensation, allowing it hold a little better.

Here is what I had at the time of the first formitive feedback aession. The aesthetic is all over the place, and thematically there’s very little to bind the works.

What came out as the strongest part of the works was the reversed figures. In the image above, the one that looks like a family portrait but the people are made of trees, let’s just call it a family portrait? How I achieved this was to find cutouts of figures that had an interesting image on the reverse side. Moving forward I decided to pursue this as the key aspect of my works this semester.

The challenges of creating works like this are simple. Finding images that fit this criteria, and fit the aesthetic im looking for is really difficult! Fortunately I found a few more I had already cut up that fit the bill, and also had a collection of books called ‘the masters’ with lots of two sided plates.

The next challenge was to figure out what this all meant! So im left with some questions

What does reversing the figure mean?

How can I ethically work with images I don’t own?

How do I present the final work?

Is this what I want to be doing?

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