I used to think that only people who could draw were “real” artists. There was something about figurative work that had that air of legitimacy. Or maybe I just elevated it because I couldn’t do it. I was lucky I could draw stick figures. So needless to say, I never really considered myself an artist. Then I discovered collage and mixed media.
It was love at first sight.
The mystery is a major part of the attraction. I like not knowing what I’m creating. I like the mess of collage, and I like the happy accidents. When done from an intuitive place, collage and mixed media is chaotic, messy and very deep.
I use layers of hand-painted tissue paper, images printed on rice paper, transparencies, modeling clay, ephemera…pretty much anything I find around the house or at the art store. I collect my supplies and then just start layering. Color is what draws me first, then images, then found objects. Working in this way helps me get around my own perfectionism. Since there is no “right” way, I can give myself the freedom to play and explore. It doesn’t always gel…but when it does, I can feel it. Somehow everything just goes together well…like a puzzle with all the pieces.
Once my piece is done, I can then look at it to see what my unconscious might be trying to communicate to me. I will often write about my art, allowing my left brain an opportunity to weigh in on the collage.
Collage for me is a practically perfect form of self-expression. The images speak to my unconscious, circumventing the linear left-brain that runs the show most of the time. After choosing the images and creating the collage, I then let my rational mind back to the forefront and do writing exercises about the collage…allowing the images to “speak” to me about their meaning.
Why collage? Because it’s a perfect blend of left and right brain activities, and the only training needed is the ability to get out of my own way.