Japanese artist and illustrator Takahiro Kimura believes that true beauty lies within imperfection. Through his collage work, Kimura tries to expose the vulnerable yet beautiful nature of the human spirit by creating distorted human faces. To achieve a ‘distorted’ aesthetic, the artist cuts and rearranges different images, which he creates, to form one.
Though I am quite interested in various aspects and contradictions which people have inside, I attempt not to think about them in the stage of creation. I’d rather devote my attention to line and exquisite balance of form, mass, composition and color so that[..] the said factors can stand out.
Although his work is lively, there is still a visible hint of darkness that creates an interesting paradox- there is, in fact, a great amount of imperfection within the obvious beauty of these human faces.
Collage artist Ed Spence uses hundreds of hand-cut pixels to interpret photographs. The original works, mundane scenes like floral arrangements and out-of-focus landscapes, are made infinitely more interesting with his additions. Spence abstracts the original image by organizing the tiny squares on top of it. In doing so, he presents his alternative and desired image.
Spence’s works are modern-day pointillism, and the stippling effect made by squares rather than dots. While pointillism has existed since the late 1800’s, the artist puts a modern spin on it by referencing pixels. It looks like this idea was born from our increasingly digital world.
Spence states that he uses a knife and ruler to dissect the information within the photograph. In other words, he chooses what to distort and enhance, which explains the way he pixelates his work. I started to view his collages assuming that he had precisely pixelated the original image. I quickly realized this was not the case. If you squint your eyes, sometimes Spence’s pixels complete the image. Other times, colors and shapes don’t really match up. There’s an obvious disconnect between what I expect the image to be and how Spence wants to depict it. While pixels are often a warped but true representation of an image, the artist plays with this idea. Not only does he craft something analog that should be digital, but he skews what we’d come to expect from it. (Via iGNANT)
Brandi Strickland’s collages are a mixture of photographs, painting, and drawing. Exploring different themes, Strickland fills her compositions with people and textures, utilizing a lot of old, faded papers, and National Geographic-like magazines. Inner Space is a series about the galaxy and our world, examining topics such as overcrowding, our relationship to our planet, and our perception of space.
Strickland combines a dizzying amount of black and gray tones, playing with scale of stars and fractured light. Each work in Inner Space seems to illustrate a different aspect of space. In one work, The Duat, (directly above) the artist has included pair of eyes, signifying fear of intergalactic exploration. In that same piece, Strickland has a woman diving, as if you say we should embrace these fears.
The piece titled Inner Space (below) focuses more specifically on Earth. It is a visual magpie; Strickland has collected shiny, colorful, manmade, and natural imagery to represent a world that’s focused less on the great unknown and more about ourselves. The sphere takes up most of the composition, too – it’s just all about Earth. Amulet (also below) has the same thematic considerations that Inner Space does, but it recognizes that we are just a very small but valuable part to the greater universe. Scale-wise, the Earth that was so large in Inner Space is significantly smaller by comparison. An amulet’s most important characteristic is its alleged power to protect from evil, so the title suggests that we are either in need of one or we are one.
Strickland describes her work, stating, “For me, collage begins with collecting, saving, acquiring, searching; then, as if they were memories, I meticulously sort, separate and organize them into something new, something that is both happily accidental and tediously arranged.” The series demonstrates a meditation on this theme, and I’d be curious to know what conclusions she drew.
Artist Matthew Craven primarily works in collage. His work, however, diverges from a lot of typical collage styles. Craven doesn’t juxtapose found imagery to create an effect from the contrast. Rather, he sources imagery of what seems to be ancient archaeological artifacts. The black and white images resemble the photographs of old issues of National Geographic. Further, the way Craven assembles the images doesn’t seem an attempt to draw disparities. Instead, he almost appears to categorizing objects, setting up classifications without labeling. Still, his work is fine art and not an exercise in archaeology. Craven doesn’t offer easy conclusions – there is no simple reading of history to be gotten in his work. Rather, Craven looks back at history with his collaged images as art does. It underscores the difficulty in reducing human history to one accurate narrative. The gallery statement of his current solo exhibit at DCKT Contemporary further explains:
“Archaeological remains and ruins act as backdrops for forming crypto-historical collages and drawings. Images from lost cultures, relics and landscapes both well-known and extremely ambiguous create the patterns within the works. The results are compositions that highlight a new connection to our past in an aesthetic that is intended to be both cinematic in scope and visionary in perspective. Understanding that our view of history is deeply flawed and inherently biased, we are left with a puzzle of strange pieces. Oblivious Path combines these puzzle pieces into a new framework. Some of these pieces appear to fit together despite thousands of years and tens of thousands miles separating these ancient civilizations. Using source materials from historical texts, Oblivious Path scrambles our current notions of space and time. The powerful images we are left with cannot be reinterpreted, translated or disregarded. What is left was carved in stone. It is permanent. They are our sacred truths.” ( via the jealous curator)
“Paper Tears,” an exhibition of all new works by artist Jaybo Monk opened recently at Soze Gallery in LA. I connected with him to discuss his new body of work, and how it relates to poetry, travel, what came before and what comes next.
K: Congratulations on a beautiful show and a really solid opening! How have you felt about the exhibit?
J: Thank you, to be honest I forget my work soon as it has been done. I consider every show like pages from a book that continuously get closer to its end , therefore I am more interested in the next page as the one I just have read.
K: This new work of yours in “Paper Tears” is quite an evolution from past works in a way I love. They are much smaller and feel more personal. Can you tell us a little about how you may have approached this series differently than works in the past?
J: Since I remember I always have drawn my ideas on paper before I even put them in words. Each morning I wake up out of a dream, I try to remember it in a visual form. What I normally do on a bigger scale is the result of more than one dream. In “Paper Tears” I show one dream at once. The medium I used is also more personal: pocket aquarelles, pencils, ink… they also have a kind of diary aspect in them, involving time between each piece.
It comes as no surprise to anyone who idles away hours at a computer screen looking at design and art sites that the cut and paste collage medium is seeing a resurgence in importance. Sharing the internet’s tendencies of immediacy, appropriation and a denial of visual ownership, collage combines anything and everything to create a natural response and reflection of our age.
The collage work of Jesse Draxler similarly combines these strengths and tendencies, though with hand-crafted technique. His mixed-media fusion of found images, typography and design sensibilities thrives in information-overload times, both in drawing inspiration as well as being viewed instantaneously. By finding source material from anything, Draxler is able to ‘remix’ fashion spreads as easily as referencing art movements, crafting a new 2-dimensional language that has an immediate accessibility. This intentional referencing of constant stimulus, which is manipulated first and considering after, is essentially a kind of hyper-consumption of images that might be the descendant of William Burroughs’ cut-up technique. Draxler has no contention with this, saying, “Going through my Tumblr feed is like gathering ammunition which I will use myself, in my own way. I am able to see trends emerge in real-time, and I think about how I can fit those aesthetics into what I do, or even wrap what I do around those aesthetics.” Essentially everything, regardless of theme, origin, niche or intent, has the potential to become inspiration.
Recently featured in Gestalten’s The Age of Collage, a survey of the foremost collage artists working in the world today, Draxler’s ability to draw inspiration from anything fully portrays the strength of the visual remix medium.
The art of Ala Ebtekar is as simple as it is effective. Ebtekar was born in the United States and raised in California but retained a strong connection to the land of his heritage, Iran. You can nearly see in Ebtekar’s work a gazing at home from far away, a sort of portal. Ebtekar is definitely referencing the cosmic with this work. He says of the Sufi influence behind his work, “Sufis believe that existence is of two natures – both earthly and divine – and it’s that transition between these two states that’s represented by an arch. The arch could be in architecture, but it could also be a beloved’s eyebrow, and how that’s an entrance to that other space.” Ebtekar also subtly uses Western imagery in addressing this “other space” – you’ll notice some of these pieces printed on the back of science fiction movie posters.
Mixing an admiration for John Baldessari with her own childhood memories of cutting/altering magazines with her mother, Flore Kunst creates captivating collages from vintage postcards and magazines, while sprinkling a few contemporary clippings throughout. A graduate of Emile Cohl for design, Kunst’s eye for intriguing detail and clean lines is evident; however, it’s her creative visual juxtapositions that truly capture our attention most, allowing us to meditate on the female form and its signifiers from era to era– how it all clashes and confuses even the most contemporary culture and its psyche.