27 August 2009

Ranting and Raving about Collage Art

So I'm sick and tired of receiving mail art in arranged swaps that relies almost 90% on purchased collage sheets. I love swapping ATCs and chunky-book pages, but frankly, they are supposed to be little pieces of art, not the same kind of collage we might've thrown together for a grade-school nutrition project by cutting up our mom's copies of Family Circle and Good Housekeeping.

I can't take it. I spend a lot of time on my collages--both in painting and distressing vintage book pages and paper towels for background elements, to locating just the right colors and papers to use, to having the best possible quotes or words or handwriting on my work, to using photographs that I own myself or that I spent at least some amount of time locating for myself. I worry about composition, layering, originality and whether or not the work has an overall statement to make. I create my own collage sheets to save on paper/color photocopying costs, but I don't go on etsy and buy someone else's sheets of crappy, overused, colorized vintage images of little girls in butterfly wings to make my art "easier."

Creating collage is not supposed to be about shortcuts and time-savers . . . it's still supposed to be art. I don't really know if there is any great amount of art involved in cutting images out of a three-dollar collage sheet and glue-sticking them onto a playing card.

I think this may be why I'm hand-drawing more stuff, because I am becoming a collage snob. And I don't like my collages lumped into the same category with collages that look like they came right off a production line.

ugh. Perhaps I just need a nap.


  1. That is actually one of the reasons why I've been on a swapping break. I guess we don't all have the same standards in collages. I've always admired your creations though and am proud to own some of your chunky pages!

  2. Yours are definitely a style all there own. I've always been happy to get your cards in my envie.

  3. I understand how you feel. I've seen a lot of cards done with those collage sheets that hardly have any extra work done to them to make the finished card the artists own. I do collage cards for my live trade group and really struggle to get the the right combination of images - to me it's harder than a handdrawn card. I love your work though, it always all comes together into a wonderful final image with a distinct Amy style.

  4. all three of you made me feel better . . . as i've been stomping around here like godzilla! lol!

  5. Amy, I know what you mean and it is one of the reasons I started adding a lot of hand drawn elements to my cards. If I use anything purchased, I try to alter it so it doesn't look anything like the original.I have been on a swapping hiatus, too, and have only been doing journals and altered books lately.


  6. oh amy! you speak my thoughts. we have talked about shitty collage before so you know how i feel. but still, i am soooo with you! i actually use collage sheets but i search high and low for ones other people don't use. what i abhor is all the thoughtless, slapped together crap that is soooo prevalent on that forum of ours! no thought to composition or layering. anyway, i have learned a lot from dissecting your art!

  7. lol! you know that my hate comes from the thoughtless slapping of purchased images, not the images themselves . . . ugh! :) i have to watch trading at "better" sites, because i'm more comfortable with getting junky stuff like that at a site like atcsforall, because there, at least, everyone is participating. what chaps my ass is when i get that crap at a juried or private site or swap. :)

  8. it all starts to look the same, doesn't it?


Thank you for commenting, and thus contributing to the conversation.