For how long are you working with collage art now and what was your reason to become a collage artist?
I became a collage artist through necessity. Whilst studying to become a graphic designer (now my day job) I started the practice of collecting visual stimuli. It got to the point where I had to do something with the hundreds of folders I’d acquired of magazine cuttings, comics, books, newspapers, photos, etc. At first I worked purely in sketchbooks slowly these developed into huge compositions. That was 13 years ago.
Would you consider yourself mainly a collage artist or do you prefer working with other techniques as well?
Collage is currently at the forefront of my work due to the nature of my lifestyle. In 2010 My fiancé and I decided to embark on a worldwide trip so for the last two years I’ve been limited to working out a car and gathering materials as I travel. Typically though collage is an important aspect of my work, normally I’d produce large layered mixed media (print, paint, tape) works with collage featuring heavily, especially in creating the base layers. Due to my profession I also work digitally, this often informs my collage work and vice versa. Essentially though my method of working and composition is always inspired by collage techniques.
When you begin working on a new collage (set of collages), do you already have a picture in mind of how it should preferably look when finalized?
Yes and no, I have an idea of how I want it to look. Unfortunately this is always lost somewhere between my brain and my hand. Normally I’ll start working on about 20 collages at once. I then spend the rest of my time trying to salvage them and make them look good. The resulting collages look complex and layered because sometimes they need a lot of rescuing. Recently I have been working until I can’t fit any more elements on the page.
What fascinates you the most about collages?
I love to look at other people’s collages. Due to the nature of collage it’s very easy to make work that lacks personality. It’s great when I discover someone who has a very distinct style. For me, the challenge is to take collage and make images that look unique. Technically I like the images to be layered, intertwined and leave people thinking about how it was constructed.
In art, what is your favourite epoque / your favourite art movement, and why?
I have always found Pop Art really interesting as a movement. I’m not so much interested in the banality of re-producing images over and over, but more interested in the re-contextualization of images, taking a recognizable image and instilling a new meaning on it.
I often work in collaboration and coming from a Graffiti background has taught me not to be precious about my work. This approach allows ideas to develop and flourish.
The DIY ethos of punk and its influence on the late 90’s U.S ‘Beautiful Losers’ folk and graff artists and skateboarders is something I can relate to. I grew up at the same time and had all the same reference points. A movement that has been labeled: Graffuturism is producing some great painters at the moment. Contemporary Graphic Design is also producing some really interesting art at the moment.
Do you have an artist whom you admire and whom inspires you?
Lots, and very varied. I spend a lot of time looking at artwork by other people. This list could have hundreds of artists on it but I’ll pick just 5 at random:
Ben Frost’s paintings are essentially pop-art collages.
Matt W Moore is producing really interesting work across all mediums.
Daniel K Sparkes AKA Mudwig has a really unique drawing style, he could draw a 5cm line and you’d know he’s drawn it!
Gwen Vanhee’s digital experiments are really cool.
I’m a massive fan of Maurizio Cattelan, he’s contemporary arts biggest joker.
What are your main inspirations, or how do you get inspired?
I have always been a collector and had a magpie attitude to inspiration and ultimately, at it’s most basic, my work is influenced by the things I collect.
I have never been under the impression that inspiration comes from sitting around and waiting for that big idea to appear in a light bulb above your head. I look for ideas wherever I can and if I find myself in a rare creative slump I have the tools and knowledge to develop new ideas and move forward.
I seek inspiration everywhere I can, consciously and subconsciously, visual inspiration to emotional inspiration, from the mundane of everyday things to the life changing events that shape your future. What is important is to observe them with a critical eye. Sometimes these ideas fester, half formed for years before emerging within my work.
Does music have any influence in your work process? (And, if so: What kind of music do you like to listen to? Any favorite song or artist or genre?)
I listen to all kinds of music and will always have music on when I’m working.
Electronica is great whilst working. I like really layered technical compositions that require headphones to appreciate the production. I like to immerse myself into the music.
Hip Hop has had a big influence on my work, I like to sample and re-appropriate images, much like a DJ/Producer who samples from the past and creates something new. I DJ and produce music too, I see the working practice as one and the same as making art, essentially collaging sound.
My music production is very different to the music I DJ out. I play old crackly records from the 1950’s and 60’s. Listening to old music helps me put new music into context. For me, context is really important, having a good understanding of what has come before is the only way to move forward.
Is there a quote you always carry with you in your mind, heart, notebook, mobile phone or wallet, that describes or inspires you?
Not so much a quote, but I like to ask myself this question when I’m working: “Does it look like anything you’ve seen before?”
What direction do you see your work going next?
I’m currently striving to make my collages more complicated. I’d like to make them so technical and intricate that the viewer has no idea how they are made. I’m really struggling with this! My goal is also to be so prolific that people have no idea how I find the time to make so many. I really want to start working in 3 dimensions too, ultimately making 3D objects that look like my 2D collages, it would be great to get sound in there too somehow!