collage (according to the Collins English Dictionary) is
1. (Art Terms) an art form in which compositions are made out of pieces of paper, cloth, photographs, and other miscellaneous objects, juxtaposed and pasted on a dry ground
2. (Art Terms) a composition made in this way
3. (Art Terms) any work, such as a piece of music, created by combining unrelated styles
[French, from coller to stick, from colle glue, from Greek kolla]
Now, I am no stranger to collage. Collage represents what I call “the heartbeat” in many of my paintings. It brings texture to any painting and is a fantastic way to get over the fear of the white page (which can be really intimidating). For some people collage is their main form of art like the fantastic Martin O’Neill. His website: http://dogsanddice.co.uk. Look at these magazine covers of his. Isn’t collage just a wonderful way to give used paper new life?
I also find collage to be a metaphor for who we turn out to be. The wonderful Ane Brun has a song called Armour that says:
‘Cause this armour’s different pieces
Were delivered from different places
With their own delivery dates
I think the concept is relevant to both good and bad experiences. Think about it – you’re little and it is just you and your mum and dad. The qualities you were born with together with the input of your parents form the foundation – the piece of paper, canvas, wood, etc. Then you get to an age where you start interacting with other humans and your parents no longer have full control over the influences in your life (I guess that must be a scary place for parents). So every new bit of information written in your heart and mind is a piece of the collage that will keep changing and shaping you into the person that you are today and will be tomorrow.
It came as a surprise to me how much I enjoyed this. Try this – cut out some words from magazines and when you have enough pick a few and rearrange them. Some musicians like David Bowie have also used a similar technique to write song lyrics. After I tried this I could see how that could work. It takes you to another place.
Collage requires me to be present, to be a witness of the beauty that emerges.