Pablo Picasso and George Braque coined the term collage, a derivative of the french word “coller” which means to glue or to stick. Collage is considered to be “an audacious intermingling of high and low culture. It revolutionized modern art.” The earlier stages of collage is closely associated to the cubism movement. The idea of using fragments of other images to create a larger image. Picasso is credited to have invented collage. He looked past the usage of one image and saw the deeper meaning when using multiple. Using multiple pieces, the work would then have a stronger symbolic or metaphorical meaning. Then came those who brought forth the photo elements. Artists like Hannah Hoch, (Figure 1)Richard Huelsenbeck and John Heartfield coined the technique of using pre-existing mass media images from magazines in collage art.
Figure 1
Figure 1


This his became popular during the second world war in propaganda pieces. It was popular to incorporate things you would see in everyday life, but it would make you look at them in a different way, especially when used in a context that is different from its intended purpose or function, which is the whole point. The artist is able to to take an image and make is something it was never before. Making a bird an accessory or a crashing wave, hair. There is no limit as to what you can do with collage art and anyone can do it. If you have a pair of scissors, some magazines and glue you can make anything you want. There are more meticulous ways of putting together a collage piece but in all honestly those three things are all you need. This makes collage one of my favorite mediums and is what inspired me to research this for my project.


While visiting my aunt, who is a collage artist herself, I got a deeper look into the actual process of collage art. First off you need the pieces. Unfortunately you cannot just use whatever photo you would like. You could if you wanted to but you would not be able to publicly publish it. There are certain restrictions, including when using a images from magazines you cannot use a photo in a magazine that published before 1976 due to rights and licensing laws. There were so many little cut outs i felt it impossible to keep them all organized, when her studio mate Donna, the head of the the Nyack Art Collective, suggested that she use pizza boxes to hold all of her pieces. That is exactly what she did. From that point it is all about picking the pieces you would like to use. One you have a good idea of what you want in the piece, it is then time to heat up the iron. After finding the right size board to place the actual collage piece on. Then it takes a special type of glue to make certain the pieces stick without creating a sort of rippling effect beneath the photo. The longest part of the process is just waiting for the glue to dry. Although scissors and a glue stick seems easier, the final product is seamless when using the advanced method.
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Figure 2



As I touched on before the originator of this collage movement was Pablo Picasso. He worked heavily with cubism and surrealism which are both components of collage. His work would heavily influence artists to come and collage art would bloom. He also took his collage art to a three dimensional style. You can see this in his sculpture “Guitar” 1912 ( Figure 2). He made it out of sheet metal. It is a very interesting piece because while looking at it we all know that it is a guitar without the help of the title that is, but even though this mundane object is broken down to a geometrical form and it has intruding pieces where it should be extruding and vice versa. He began to break away from the traditional form of sculpture. When most people think of sculpture they immediately are drawn to images of sculptures like Venus de Milo or David. Although there are many more abstract sculptures now, remember that this was made in 1912 well before its time and is truly revolutionary. While Picasso started his collage artwork on paper we was not afraid to take it to a three dimensional level. This just adds to the point that with collage art, pretty much anything is possible.

Figure 3
Figure 3


Picasso and Braque were not the only “big name” artists who dabbled in the collage world. Henri Matisse also helped develop the collage movement. After becoming sick in his later years, for a while he was not able to move much and some days he could not get of bed. As an artist he knew he needed some sort of creative outlet so he started do collage art. He was able to cut and paste pictures and create beautiful pieces that are still on exhibit today.(Figure 3) This just goes to show that no matter who you are or what your circumstances are, you can still challenge yourself and express yourself artistically.

Figure 4
Figure 4



One of the most iconic collage art pieces of all times was created in 1956 by a man by the name of Richard Hamilton. The piece is called Just What Is It That Makes Today’s Home So Different, So Appealing? ( Figure 4)This was groundbreaking because this is where we see the use of magazine clippings becoming popular. The point of this piece was to sort of poke fun at the advertising world during this time. It also made fun of the lifestyles that these advertisements were trying to promote as well you can see in the back the ads for a vacuum as well as the product placement of Spam and the Tootsie Pop. This kind of collage is very similar to the work that my aunt, a fellow collage artist, does.

Figure 5
Figure 5


This piece that my aunt did is one of my favorite pieces. It is called Father by Susan Strange. ( Figure 5)It tells the story of her father, my grandfather, moving to Brooklyn and experiencing culture shock for the first time. I think that having a personal connection with the piece makes it a lot more special to me but at the same time I think it is a piece that anyone can enjoy. The picture itself depicts a young boy with his back turned to the viewer. This would be my grandfather. The main part of the piece is the woman. She is a woman of color with hair like he has never seen before. The hands on her throat show her restriction when being who she is and the stick-like images on the sides are representative of barriers that people have to make in order to experience the world for it eternity.


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Figure 6


Lastly I would like to talk about a piece that I did. This may seem like a very personal page but it is. Collage art is one of the few ways i can express myself artistically. I call it Vanity Un-Fair. (Figure 6) It depicts a larger than life young women in the middle of Grand Central Station leaning on everyone and having gifts handed down to her while all she can do it look in the mirror. There was inspiration while I was making the piece but i just like the way all the pieces fit together and were all kind of focused on one point. I had a lot of fun making this piece and although the skills required could be considered "primitive", really anyone can do this and enjoy it. All and all I truly believe that collage art is one of the most dynamic and entertaining forms of art. It is one of those things that you could do alone or with someone else. It is very important to express yourself and I think that collage is one of the easiest ways to do it. I mean come, if Picasso can do it, so can you.








Sources:


__https://www.khanacademy.org/humanities/art-1010/early-abstraction/cubism/v/the-language-of-representation-pablo-picasso-s-guitar-1912-14__


__https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collage__


__http://www.theartstory.org/artist-picasso-pablo.htm__


__http://www.artspace.com/magazine/art_101/art_market/art_101_collage-5622__