A Collage State of Mind by Leslie Fandrich

I'm in a collage state of mind lately. All of a sudden, it seems to be everywhere! Collage is my go-to method for creating quick compositions and keeping the creativity fresh. It's the way I have fun and play and it's something I often do in my sketchbook. This week though, I've been working a bit bigger in anticipation of a local collage workshop I'll be doing soon. Jonathan Talbot teaches a method for creating collages that eliminates liquid adhesives and I can't wait to learn about it.

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Neil Gaiman, Amanda Palmer and Cut Paper Inspiration by Leslie

Neil Gaiman tipped me off to both of the fabulous cut paper videos in this post. He is, if you haven't already heard, my favorite author. He seems to be fan of cut paper because the recent collaboration between him and Amanda Palmer (his new wife, who I also adore) uses the fantastic cut paper graphic above. Yes, that is a Tardis on the table. I wished I could have attended one the concerts, but they were all on the west coast, so instead I contributed to the Kickstarter for a signed CD which I am anxiously waiting for! They did send out a digital teaser EP (read a review of the concert and the EP) and it's a wonderful hint of what will likely be an epic collection of music performed by AFP, stories read by NG and awesome Q & A's with them together. I love the stuff these two are doing together.

Back to the cut paper though, Neil Gaiman tweeted about both of these videos and I think they are amazing. The amount of work that must have gone into them is astounding. Stop motion has an incredible quality to it. 

Still image from Josh Ritter's video for Love Is Making Its Way Back Home.

The first video is for Josh Ritter's new song Love Is Making Its Way Back Home. "This video was created with over 12,000 pieces of construction paper, shown as it was shot, with no effects added in post." 

The second video is from The New Zealand Book Council and it was posted a couple of years ago so you may have seen it, but it's worth a re-watch even if you have. So beautiful. From The Inspiration Room: "New Zealand Book Council runs readings, recitals, school programmes, seminars and festivals throughout the country, bringing the magic of NZ literature to life for New Zealanders. The organisation has worked with Colenso BBDO and Andersen M Studio to produce a 2 minute promotion bringing to life Maurice Gee’s 1993 novel, “Going West”."

For some more cut paper inspiration check out this book that I first read about on Terra Savvy. It's got all kinds of excellent cut paper art featured in it, although I was somewhat disappointed that the cover is not actually cut paper. I suppose I should have expected that, for a mass produced book, but still. It's ABOUT cutting paper, it's not cut paper itself.

Paper Cutting Book: Contemporary Artists, Timeless Craft (image from Paper Crave)

My favorites in the book, which features 26 contemporary artists, are Peter Callesen, Su Blackwell and Mia Pearlman. I also love what Thomas Allen is doing with the vintage pulp paperbacks. His use of photography is as critical to the mood of his paper cuts as the cut paper. The fabulous cover of the book is by Elsa Mora.

Peter Callesen

Su BlackwellMia PearlmanThomas Allen

One of the most interesting, beautiful and intricate paper/book cutting projects I have ever seen is the work of Alexander Korzer-Robinson. He cuts encyclopedias and reveals the images inside. The overlaps and compositions are created entirely by where things are on the page. He cuts everything away to reveal what he wants to. It's simply amazing the juxtapositions and combinations that are created. 

Day Of The Dead from the Meyers Series by Alexander Korzer-Robinson.

From the artist's website: "By using pre-existing media as a starting point, certain boundaries are set by the material, which I aim to transform through my process. Thus, an encyclopedia can become a window into an alternate world, much like lived reality becomes its alternate in remembered experience. These books, having been stripped of their utilitarian value by the passage of time, regain new purpose. They are no longer tools to learn about the world, but rather a means to gain insight about oneself."

For more inspiration, check out these links:

The Heart of Papercuts

Wikipedia: Paper Cutting

Paper Cutting Traditions

Cut paper silhouettes of pop cultural figures. A solo show from Olly Moss.

Scherenschnitte: Cindy Ferguson

Paper cutting images on Google.

Cut Paper Art #2 by Leslie

Here's my other cut paper canvas. I posted my first one last month. This one is certainly more Christmas-y. I found, while working with these, that it was very similar to tanagrams. Have you ever played with those? It's so natural for our brains to try to work out familiar objects from geometric shapes that are placed together. I had to change the pattern a few times in the one above because it resembled a face a little too much.

These would make great hand made Christmas gifts! All you need are pre-stretched painting canvases (10x10"), liquid acrylics in bronze or gold, stiff paper in different patterns and colors (magazine and catalog covers work well), scissors or an Exacto knife with a metal ruler and some white glue.

You can use any shapes you like, ranging from identical shapes to completely abstract. I found that working with all identical shapes created patterns that were too uniform, so I cut some of the triangles to make derivative shapes. If you cut shapes that are completely abstract it might be more challenging to fit them together, but would probably lead to some interesting results. I might try that next.

After the paint is dry on the canvas and the shapes are cut, pre-arrange the shapes until you find a pattern you like. Then glue each piece down one at a time, starting from the center and working your way out to the edges. White glue will dry clear, but do try to be careful that you don't get glue everywhere. Wipe and smooth areas that have too much glue. I used a book binding glue, but Elmer's glue will work too.

The canvases look great on their own or side by side as a pair. I am feeling like a frame of some kind would make them look a little more finished, because the canvases that I bought have the staples on the side instead of on the back. If you want to leave the canvases unframed, try to find pre-stretched canvases that are stapled on the back and paint the edges too.

I'd love to hear what you think of these! For the first one, I cut up an illustration that was pretty abstract to begin with, but for this canvas, I cut up a very recognisable object. Can anyone guess what the original images were? Leave me a comment to make your guess!

Cut Paper Art by Leslie

I was inspired by Lisa Congdon, who is attending Camp Mighty with me next week, to make this cut paper collage. I've got another one in the works and I look forward to exploring some additional patterns and techniques. I love the process of cutting paper and looking at colors and shapes to see how they might fit together. I've got boxes and boxes of paper ephemera and I could make good use of them making things like this.

It's similar to the weaving that I was doing with fabric last year. I'm not done with that project, I finally shipped some barn wood from the family farm to use as frames for them. I'm kind of excited about the winter actually, so that I can have some down time at home to just play with the materials I have been collecting and the ideas that I have.

What do you like to play with? For me, making art has play at it's heart and is very meditative to me. It's very different from the photography work that I do. Working on puzzles is a similar pursuit and I also like to play with words and letters by doing crosswords. I just like to play with life, really. I love the idea of taking representations of life or artifacts of life and remixing them into something else. I guess that's the reason I am drawn to collage and mixed media.

What kind of art are you drawn to? Do you make art? Why do you make art? If you haven't tried it, you should.