What I like about collage is that while there is an element of play, there is also a sense of a hidden meaning. The subconscious is directing the show from its off-stage balcony. You could look at this piece and see it as pure abstract. Or a compilation of scraps of paper with a bit of integration through the central figure. But it doesn’t really matter how anyone else sees this. The artist is taking disparate parts and making them work together. In that way, she’s also reassembling things in her psyche that she didn’t seem to know how to sort. Collage is similar to dream work. The work of dreams, in my humble opinion, is to help integrate complex elements that you can’t work out with the conscious mind.
You don’t even have to consider yourself an artist to do collage! Anyone of any age at any time can create a collage.
Here’s how you go about it.
- Gather papers. Magazines. Some of your writing. Anything that speaks to you that can be glued on a substrate. Tear or cut images or words that appeal to you in the moment. I like to tear a paper as I prefer the uneven edge.
- Choose your substrate. Heavy cardboard, cereal box panel, canvas, mixed media paper, watercolor paper (140# weight), whatever you have.
- Matte medium is a good paste. Or YES brand of paste. Or Mod Podge if there is nothing else.
- Brushes that you don’t care about.
- Water to clean the brushes.
- A paper towel.
- Paints, I prefer acrylics…but gouache works or oil pastels. I like Caran D’Ache Neocolor II water soluble wax pastels.
Give yourself time apart. Put on some music if you like. Arrange the torn or cut papers on your substrate in a way that is pleasing to you. Take a picture with your camera. Remove the papers and then glue them on the substrate according to your photo. Splash or brush on color as you are inclined to (or not). Let yourself get lost in the process. Don’t hurry it. Don’t let anyone or anything infringe upon this time and space. Getting lost in this process is part of the benefits of this collage journey into yourself. Don’t be afraid of it, surrender to it. Let it take you deep and deeper into the unknown. It is like walking into one of your dreams, only it’s a waking dream. Trust yourself to go there. Trust that you’re going to return.