March 2009 Archives

The Unfinished Body - Notpaper

The Unfinished Body

How smart is this ornamental typeface by Therese Vandling!? She says it's: inspired by 'The Unfinished Body'--a quote taken from Mikhail Bakhtin in 'Rabelais and his world'.

"The alphabet compares our culture with medieval folk culture where life and death was the same thing and always happened simultaneously. Bakhtin argues that the grotesque ornament was the ultimate symbol for this, where human, animal and plant form intertwined."





I love so much of Therese Vandling's graphic design work, I have it bookmarked and can't wait to check back and find more! Does anyone else know of any collage typeface like this, or have you made your own? This is really the first I'm seeing of it, other than paper-like typefaces that I've featured before.


The Art of Eric Carle - Notpaper

The Art of Eric Carle

So did anyone notice what was on the Google homepage today to symbolize the first day of Spring? I was so excited when I saw little illustrations from Eric Carle's A Very Hungry Caterpillar (he is one of my heroes). And I bought a little book a while back called "The Art of Eric Carle," which I was planning on sharing with you. Enough procrastination, today is the day. I was sent a sign.

The Art of Eric Carle chronicles his life and his work with children's books. In a pleasant-to-read storybook fashion, the book features an autobiography of his life in Germany and in the US, articles written about his work, sketches, drawings, and collages.





This book shares some surprises, I haven't read it fully yet but it does divulge the secret technique behind his illustrations. I had never really thought about how he made his collaged children's illustrations (probably because I read his books when I was a kid) but he definitely has his own style and a unique method.

From The Art of Eric Carle:

Eric Carle creates his artwork using a technique called collage. Even before he illustrated Brown Bear, What Do You See? he was using this method in his artwork for advertising illustrations. At that time he used store-bought tissue papers which were available in some four dozen shades of colour. From these tissue papers he cut or tore out shapes and pasted them down with rubber cement on illustration boards. Later, Eric Carle started to paint on commercially available tissue papers to add more texture. (page 65)

(Above image) On the left, Carle paints tissue paper, Right, sheets are laid out to dry.

I'll include a few of the steps in making tissue paper, shown in the above photograph.

From The Art of Eric Carle:

How To Prepare Coloured Tissue Papers

1. Squeeze paint (acrylic, water, or poster paint) into a dish, add water.

2. ...and stir.

3. Place a single sheet of tissue paper on a clean surface.

4. Paint bold strokes onto the tissue paper. (Hint: Lift up the tissue paper briefly, so it doesn't stick to the surface.) Let it dry on newspapers while working on other tissue papers.

5. Apply a second colour. Perhaps in blue wavy brushstrokes. Again: lift tissue paper and let it dry on newspapers.

(Above image) How to make a collage illustration. (Looks like he's making the caterpillar!

I hope you enjoyed this little excerpt, and you should buy this book, if you can find it somewhere. (I don't know if it's still for sale, I found it in a used book store). He also has another book I would like to find, called You Can Make a Collage: A Very Simple How-to Book for all ages of course.

Published by Philomel Books.

Happy Spring!

Tom Moglu - Notpaper

Tom Moglu

Tom has this sense of character and individuality that I find really interesting. One of his recent (and favourite) projects includes what he calls "bundles," which are small pieces of art layered on top of each other. I think they are beautiful, and although a bit strange, a wonderful idea. He has a strong understanding of texture, and I love how he uses sealing wax and moths in his pieces--they make each bundle live and breathe.

Tom Moglu
Flickr, moglu.carbonmade.com, moglubundles.blogspot.com
Berlin, Germany (originally from the UK)

Q: Describe your work in 10 words or less.
A: The beautiful scraps and layers that make up everyone.

Q: What do you like to work with (magazines, photographs, vintage)? Be specific!
A: I use mostly plain paper, a mixture of found and vintage with a tendency for thin paper which lets the layers come through. I like old books, newsprint, hand painted colours, and the subtle differences of 'plain' paper.

Q: How long have you been creating collages and what made you start?
A: I've always collected paper, and made collage, but started in this style around 2004, making constructivist style book jackets.

Q: Are you solely an artist, or do you work in another profession?
A: I've always worked a part time job to pay the rent, recently these have included Museum Guide, Web Researcher, and, bizarrely, Selling Cheese to the Queen of England.

Q: Do you have any formal art training?
A: I went to Camberwell College of Art, and then Falmouth College of Art.


Q: Explain your favourite techniques.
A: Layering, colour theory, geometric designs, tearing instead of scalpel or scissors, markmaking, recycling. Working in a circular format or on found wood.



Q: Describe your favourite piece ever created.
A: The collection of 42 bundles. A really exciting series to work on: Wrapped up and hidden in many layers of paper are notes, pieces of wire, moths, leather bindings from books, scraps of lace I found in a skip, paper from my childhood or ruined books or sealing wax and wooden blocks. Each bundle is like an individual person.

Q: What other artists do you admire?
A: Joseph Beuys, Kasmir Malevich, Kurt Schwitters, Thomas Demand, CyTwombly, Robert Rauchenberg, Fluxus.

Thanks Tom!

Martin Schmidt - Notpaper

Martin Schmidt

I really love Martin's collages, which combine a feel of 1900s era industrialism with a bit of whimsy. He has some collages with colour, but I chose these, because I love the simplicity and the strong effect that the aged backgrounds have on the collages.

Martin Schmidt
>www.flickr.com/photos/miau_wau_wau
Offenbach, Germany (it's near Frankfurt)

Q: Describe your work in 10 words or less.
A: It's something humourous and mysterious between nature and technology.

Q: What do you like to work with (magazines, photographs, vintage)? Be specific!
A: I like to work with old material. Most of my collages are made from prints from an old German encyclopedia. In some other pieces I arranged them or other old scientific illustrations with bright colored, geometric shapes. I also use material I found in three boxes in an attic some time ago. They contained many old photographs, letters and postcards and some old souvenirs like tickets for trains. This is a bizarre documentation of a family from about 1890 till 1970.

Q: How long have you been creating collages and what made you start?
A: I think I started one or two years ago and the reason was just that I wanted to study illustration, so I made my first collages for my portfolio.

Q: Do you have any formal art training?
A: I just started to study at a very nice design university in Offenbach in Fall 2008.

Q: Explain your favourite techniques.
A: Mostly I spread all my material (about 200 already precut pieces) on my desktop and then I just look at these and after a while I begin to combine the different pieces. The result is mostly very straight and clear. Often the collages are telling a small story because the viewer has to wonder about the situation I created.

Q: Describe your favourite piece ever created.
A: I don't have a favourite piece at the moment because this changes often.

Q: What other artists do you admire?
A: Mostly I like artists I found via flickr like the pearpicker, ghostpatrol, Andy Kehoe or Maxwell Loren Holyoke Hirsch. Annother artist I really like is the German illustrator Anke Feuchtenberger. From the more classical artists I like the work of Max Ernst, Kurt Schwitters and Daniel Spoerri.

Thanks Martin!

Juliana Neufeld - Notpaper

Juliana Neufeld

Juliana is an amazing illustrator/designer from Toronto, so it's no wonder I kept running into her work everywhere! I really love her mixed media works as well, and I chose to include two of her book projects here, because--well, I like collections/series of collages quite a lot. I definitely look forward to seeing more collage work from her.

Juliana Neufeld
www.juliananeufeld.com
Toronto, Canada

Q: Describe your work in 10 words or less.
A: Nostalgic. Busy. Mid conversation. Optimistic

Q: What do you like to work with (magazines, photographs, vintage)? Be specific!
A: Clips from 50's advertisements. Old comic books and National Geographics. Postcards found in antique shops and flea markets. Old wallpaper samples. My own photographs.

Q: How long have you been creating collages and what made you start?
A: I found a book called The journey is the destination: The journals of Dan Eldon, in early highschool. The book changed the way I thought about art. To me, it justified the desire to create art using work that wasn't necessarily mine. An organized chaos within the work that still exhilarates me. The works of Sabrina Ward Harrison... also a huge influence. I guess I started making journals at the beginning of high school. Right after I picked up Dan Eldon's book.

Q: Are you solely an artist, or do you work in another profession?
A: Blessed to work solely as an artist. I do commercial illustration and design to help pay the bills, but none of the work I've done has curtailed my creativity of made me question my choices. All the work I've done I would be proud to put in a portfolio.

Q: Do you have any formal art training?
A: I have a Bachelors degree in Photographic Arts. Other than that, I'm self trained.



Q: Explain your favourite techniques.
A: I don't have a favorite techinique that I rely on, though I suppose to cross my work into a digital realm, with a greater frequency than in the past. I love the visual juxtaposition of old with new. Shiny, rough. Vintage and modern. And the computer allows me to explore this to a greater degree. I might paint a backround with watercolour, place an illustration or an old photograph on top, scan the image and add text or digital illustration that I can then place digitally. Though I'm a traditionalist at heart, I'm willing to see where the digital realm can expand my work in bigger and more exciting directions.

Q: Describe your favourite piece ever created.
A: My friend found an old painting on the street out side of my house. When he came to visit, he brought the painting up with him, thinking I might like it on its own. It was an old painting of a Dutch landscape, with a nice gold tinged wooden frame attached. I didn't think about what I would do. I just started painting. Thirty minutes later, I had a melancholy cat in a rain suit with umbrella, walking through the landscape.

Q: What other artists do you admire?
A: Barry McGee, Margaret Killgallen, Sabrina Ward Harrison, Sally Mann, Maurice Sendack, Basquiat, Dan Eldon.

Thanks Juliana!

Nicolas Geiser - Notpaper

Nicolas Geiser

These collages by Nicolas are great, and he has such a body of work! I had a hard time deciding on which collages to feature. He's done a lot of really simple, clever collages with very few elements and a large amount of negative space. But I was really taken by his newer work (shown here), in which it seems he has let loose. They have a much more organic and frantic feel to them.

Nicolas Geiser
www.nicolasgeiser.net
Switzerland

Q: Describe your work in 10 words or less.
A: To continue exploring my ideas and making new discoveries.

Q: What do you like to work with (magazines, photographs, vintage)? Be specific!
A: All the refuse, left-overs and unappreciated castoffs that I come across; magazines, books old and new. The raw materials for my creations come from the waste that is daily discarded in trashbins and garbages.

Q: How long have you been creating collages and what made you start?
A: I began making collages over 15 years ago. I was inspired by the cover sleeve of a record by the band CRASS, and I decided to start making my own.

Q: Are you solely an artist, or do you work in another profession?
A: Artist.

Q: Do you have any formal art training?
A: I'm a self-taught artist and a graduate of the Beaux Arts of Geneva.

Q: Explain your favourite techniques.
A: To go with the flow of my thoughts. When I put my thoughts to paper I try to act as a passive transmitter, lest I edit myself.

Q: Describe your favourite piece ever created.
A: It's impossible for me to select any single piece. My work, urged on by the events that have punctuated my life, is a long stream of accidents and new impulses. My favorite creation is the one I'll start tomorrow.

Q: What other artists do you admire?
A: Some of the artists I appreciate most are: Dieter Roth, Martin Kippenberger, Hannah Hoch, Francis Picabia, Jean Tinguely, Paul McCarthy, Tal R...

Thanks Nicolas!

RIP: A Remix Manifesto - Notpaper

RIP: A Remix Manifesto

Anyone heard of this movie yet? I watched this excellent documentary yesterday on copyright law, and I think it applies here. It's Rip: A Remix Manifesto by Canadian filmmaker and web-activist Brett Gaylor about copyright vs. the current generation. Remixing music and media has become increasingly popular with the advent of the internet, but the copyright laws have not changed to accommodate this new obsession.

The film goes through the points in Lawrence Lessig's "remix manifesto," which focuses on the ways our current culture is derived from, and yet somehow controlled by the past. Copyright law is something I've always wanted to know more about (being a collage artist), and I think this film covers it pretty succinctly.

The film also talked about the cultural differences between the US and Brazil, which I was really interested to learn. The US tries to control and prevent people from "remixing" our past, and Brazil proudly accepts that our current culture is all about remixing. I want to make a point here that there are so many brilliant collage artists that are from Brazil, and it makes sense that the music and film domains would be the same.

The film is getting a pretty wide release, and so it should be coming somewhere near you soon (See the trailer above). Brett Gaylor also has a project called Open Source Cinema, where you can join in and actually remix the film yourself!

I would be interested in hearing what you (readers) have to say about issues with collage and copyright. I know it's something a lot of collagists are wary of.

Hugo Werner: Posters - Notpaper

Hugo Werner: Posters

Take a look at these beautiful limited edition typographic collage posters by Hugo Werner! I had to post about them after he generously sent me some in the mail (the four in this post) all the way from Brazil! I think you can get your own at his website, or contact him directly for more information.

Thanks Hugo!




Notpaper is a blog dedicated to showcasing the work of international collage artists. We strive to meet the artists and understand the thoughts behind the process, so interviews with artists are a big part of what we do. If you are new to the site, please enjoy our archives featuring hundreds of collagists!   more 

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