Paper artist and illustrator Hollie Chastain clips, layers, and stitches found photographs and scraps of paper ephemera to create her mixed-media collages. The Chattanooga, Tennessee-based artist repurposes old narratives and images—in one piece, tuba players pop out of a library card pocket, and in another, two men tug on a string woven through a handwritten note—providing a new story for each regenerated work.
Chastain tells Colossal she began working with the medium in 2008. “Vintage book covers became a favorite substrate,” she says. “I fell in love with the scribbles, stamps, library and school identification, water and ink marks and all the other visual history and how that added to and sometimes altered the composition of the piece. ” Today, she often cuts images from National Geographic copies printed in the 1960s and 70s, gravitating toward “strong characters and people in action.”
To share her appreciation of the versatile medium, Chastain published an instructional book detailing various techniques and methods. “What I adore about collage as a medium is the complete versatility and the allowances that it gives first time creators to play around with color and texture and composition without any ‘but I can’t draw’ and ‘I’m not an artist’ hang-ups,” she says. If you want to join Chastain and start your own textured project, order a copy of If You Can Cut, You Can Collage. Otherwise, check out her shop and follow her on Instagram.
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Ukrainian artist Alexey Kondakov (previously) lifts figures out of classical paintings and drops them into modern-day photographs. Elegantly posed in dynamic lighting, his figures commute on public transit, dance in nightclubs, and peek around corners in otherwise mundane digital collages. The juxtaposition of the two worlds is humorous and at times seamless in its execution.
Through placement and shadows, Kondakov’s images sell the idea that the classical figures are three-dimensional objects photographed in a three-dimensional world. An image from an upcoming nightlife series depicts a mostly nude woman in a unique pose that, in context, can be read as dancing. Other images from his ongoing “Daily Life of Gods” use architecture and landscapes to ground the painted figures in an alternate reality.
To see more of his period-blending collages, give Alexey Kondakov a follow on Instagram.
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Toronto-based artist Jennifer Murphy combines cutouts of animals, plants, and other organic objects to create large-scale nature collages. Strung together using gossamer thread, the collages form the silhouettes of birds and surreal outdoor scenes from Murphy’s imagination.
The artist sources images of varying color and scale from nature magazines and textbooks and uses them as the pieces to much larger puzzles. The collages are wall-mounted, often without frames, which makes the oversized butterflies and birds appear as if they are floating in mid-air against the white gallery walls. A series of Murphy’s recent works, The Shadow of Sirius, was exhibited at Clint Roenisch Gallery in Toronto from September 5 through October 12, 2019. Murphy said in a statement that it was the loss of a close friend a decade ago that prompted her shift to making larger scale pieces. “The work was a way to cope with the grief but also an outlet to hope. This series comes at another time of loss, both personal and I believe collective. We now live in a time of ecological mourning and are in desperate need for paths to rediscover hope.”
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Towering female figures fill the frame in large-scale collages by Johanna Goodman (previously). Using a range of contemporary and historic materials and visual motifs, ranging from bright red glitter to greyscale photos of classical sculptures, Goodman builds powerful protagonists from disparate materials. Elongated torsos are with clipped vintage photos, contemporary model shots, and even sculptures and paintings. Goodman places each figure in an imagined landscape—often oceanside or celestial—with the open horizon adding to the grandiosity of each “Imaginary Being”.
The multidisciplinary artist uses a combination of her own photographs of everyday objects and places combined with found images. Goodman noted in an interview with Create that she is fastidious about using images that are in the public domain, though it can be limiting particularly when sourcing historical images of diverse women.
Goodman has created almost 400 plates in the “Imaginary Beings” which started nearly four years ago. “It is still going strong, and no one is more surprised than I am!” the artist tells Colossal. “At its inception I had no idea that what I was doing was inventing my own language, or a template, wherein I could endlessly experiment, explore, and process everything in my world.”
She continues to draw inspiration from a disparate range of sources: “I’m inspired by fashion, nature, science, politics, painting, sculpture, traveling, signage, tag sales, architecture, textiles, bugs, outer space, you name it. And the beauty is that there are no rules, no boundaries; I get to play with all of it.” Goodman also touches on current events, particularly stories and issues that center women. She explains to Colossal that in 2018 she created a piece based on Christine Blasey Ford, as well as all the women elected to Congress. More recently, a trip to Los Angeles inspired a series using the photos she took there. “The possibilities are endless and I still feel as inspired and hungry as I felt when the project began,” Goodman says.
See if you measure up to Goodman’s figures—some of which measure six feet tall—at her upcoming solo show. “Selections from the Catalogue” is on view November 21, 2019 through January 17, 2020 at David Weeks Studio in New York City. Goodman also offers prints of her work in an online store, and shares recent projects and artistic inspirations on Instagram.
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Photographs of Animals and Architecture are Sliced and Rearranged into Bizarre Collages by Lola Dupre
Spain and Scotland-based collage artist Lola Dupre (previously) continues to surprise and delight with her unusual composite images. Rather than incorporating unique individual collage elements that contrast with each other, Dupre works with repetition and duplication to build bizarrely proportioned pets, buildings, and human figures. By layering and off-setting shards of the same photo in a sort of visual syncopation, Dupre stretches and bends otherwise familiar subjects into surreal images.
The artist recently exhibited work in the show “The Age of Collage 2” at Feinkunst Krueger gallery in Hamburg, Germany, and currently has a piece in “Lunacy” at Prescription Art in Brighton, U.K. You can see more of Dupre’s collages on Instagram and tumblr, and peruse originals and prints in her online store.
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Chicago-based artist Sara Shakeel used to have a career as a dentist. But she’s traded in pearly whites for a shiny new medium: crystals. Shakeel incorporates a combination of collage and original photography in her glittering work, and focuses on food, landscapes, and female figures as her primary subjects. Shimmering crystals stand in as skyscraper windows, the chocolate in an ice cream twist, and snake scales. “The Great Supper,” her recent solo show at NOW Gallery in London, afforded Shakeel the opportunity to work in three dimensions. A dining table and chairs laden with plates, dishes, food, and candlesticks were all completed covered in crystals.
The self-taught artist has no formal training, and shared in an interview with Forbes that she has always been creative, but was discouraged from pursuing art school in favor of a more pragmatic career. Despite her meandering route—she tells Forbes she loved being a dentist—Shakeel has found her bedazzled own path to success. You can see more of Shakeel’s work on Instagram, where she shares new images with nearly 1 million followers. (via Hi-Fructose)
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Editor's Picks: Craft
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