Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Collage Night

Went to a collage evening at the Kro Bar on Oxford Road last Wednesday, it was in a warm little room upstairs away from the usual pub people (which is a good thing).  The evening was rather intimate and sweet, with a table crammed with about six to eight people and also stacks of old vintage textbooks and magazines which were almost a shame to destroy. The books were full of lovely pictures of a massive variety from scientific diagrams, boats, history and so on.  We all sort of zoned out on our cutting and pasting and sat in a chilled near silence occasionally showing each other our work and/or having a bit of chat now and then.

All in all it was quite a nice evening of fun and creativity, and I probably shouldn't say this as I'm trying to make my way in the world as a collagist (or collager) but collage is probably one of the most accessible and least scary art forms, in the way that anyone can do it without much practice.  I wonder if this is because it resembles life in a lot of ways, disparate elements being stuck together never quite fitting but always striking up some ridiculous, unreal contrast which brings about a feeling of hilarious though sometimes not so hilarious sickness and inertia...  Mind you, I probably have quite a unique way of experiencing life, and collage.  Here are the collages produced that evening:

Collage night tends to run the night monthly and in different locations each time about Manchester and London.  For more information (this is the promotional part) more information and pictures can be found on their Facebook is:

Now if you know me then you may be able to tell that the last image is mine on the bottom right, simply because the technique is the same as what I apply to all my collages at home.  If you compare the above with the below then you'll see what I mean:

 My subconscious method no matter what my intended composition is to cover up everything as much as possible with confusing texture.  Which is no bad thing and to be honest I'll probably keep at it but it's good to have a bit of a communal collage or general art session because you end up seeing that your way isn't the only way of doing things.  The other collagers have a completely different way of going about themselves.  Which was quite interesting for me as I might be locked into one method of doing things - well, actually I'm not at all locked into one method as I have all sorts of methods but maybe it's more locked into one way of thinking about how to approach things.  Time will tell.  Anyway someone I know has just come over to talk to me so I'll cut this one short.  Possibly for the best. 

Monday, 17 January 2011

My anti-event (business cards) and other non-happenings

Having a proper internet connection over at my mum’s house over Christmas I got very excited about ordering some business cards.  I rejigged my “logo” a little to go on the front of the card so I can look all arty and clever.  Here it is:

And on the back I’ve got all my details:  telephone number, email address, and all my various internet links:

Now in retrospect I think that maybe I shouldn’t have written my name at the top of the card above my telephone number, simply because if you look at the whole card back and front my name appears on it four times.  On the plus side, I’m sometimes not very good at remembering people’s names and when it gets to the third of fourth time of asking it starts to get a little embarrassing, so if having my name printed four times on something is going to help people remember my name without any embarrassment then I’m all for it. 

The cards all arrived about three weeks after my order, there are about three hundred of them.  I’m a little less excited about them now that I have them than I was while I was waiting them.  But they weren’t too expensive and they will save me a lot of awkward explaining when I’m talking to someone and they ask me “what sort of art do you do?”  Previously in those situations I’d say something tentative and awkward along the lines of:  “well, it’s, erm, abstract, I do, collages, and use….. Photocopiers…. but I’m not copying, I’m sort of…. Umm, doing prints too, and it’s quite….. Um, takes up a lot of time but….. I’m doing okay at it…..”

So even though proffering business cards about may seem a little bit conceited if done in a Patrick Bateman way, it does cut out all the awkward and inaccurate explaining and trying ever so hard to get the right balance between arrogance and self deprecation.  People will actually be able to look at what it is that I do - if they get round to it and it doesn‘t turn into a bit of lumpy clutter in their pocket. 

What would be interesting is if the first thing they look at when they follow the links on the card is this blog and they see that I’m writing about the business card that they are holding in their hands at this very moment.  If you happen to be one of those people then HELLO.  Just to demonstrate that I’m not just throwing logos around, just below is a series of pictures I made last year with watercolours, collage and acetate.  It’s one of many experiments with collages of my old animations, which were collages of my old paintings and collages, and how many times shall I say collage and collages in this one paragraph.  Will I ever get around to making collages out of my collages of my collages?

I think I will likely be collaging myself for a very long time to come.  It’s funny but I went to a collage night last Wednesday (which I’m going to write about once they have updated their Facebook) and realised that whilst cutting up textbooks and the like that I’ve been collaging my own textures and materials for such a long time and that the processes I’ve been using are actually quite different from your traditional collage, not that I’m being bigheaded or anything but I’m not sure if what I’m doing is actually collage anyway, not in it’s purest form.  It’s a lot more self involved in that it’s part of a long chain of creative endeavour going back to who knows when except me, and I’m not entirely sure myself. 

At the collage night I did approach creating a more traditional collage the same way as I’d make my own “usual” work, and it was quite slow going.  Before I wrote this I was actually trying to write about the process of what it is that I do, and how each stage blends into another.  I couldn’t really hack it though, it was pretty tricky to explain in an interesting and candid manner so I gave up.  Which is actually very hard for me to do, I don’t usually tend to give up on things, even if something I’ve started is a bit rubbish I tend to persevere, I have a big obsession with making lists of things I ABSOLUTELY HAVE TO GET DONE!  And they scream out at me until I get them done and all the while they grow and mutate through tippex and highlighter pens and more and more biro into a thick sheet of even more complicated lists of things that I ABSOLUTELY HAVE TO GET DONE!  So giving up on something is actually quite liberating… if a little scary.  I’m a bit like Alan Sugar in some ways, and also, in many other ways, I’m nothing at all like Alan Sugar.