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Get Creative With Collage: Trends and Inspiration

Collage is the combination of pieces of diverse materials and media, such as newspaper, magazines, package labels, fabric, paint and photographs, into one composition. The term itself derives from the French “coller,” meaning “glue.” It was coined by both Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso at the beginning of the 20th century, when collage became a distinct part of modern art.

Collage promises to be an important creative outlet for many years to come because it allows artists to explore and experiment with creating truly new, exciting and often unexpected results. This article showcases the pioneers of the collage movement, current trends and examples, contemporary proponents of collage and a wealth of resources. Please feel free to use the comments area to suggest other collages or artists you like.

You may be interested in the article Pop Art Is Alive: Classics and Modern Artworks1 that presents 75 outstanding examples of classic and modern pop art.

Pioneers Link

Pablo Picasso

Picasso2

Early in 1912, Picasso created “Still Life with Chair Caning” (above) by attaching a piece of oilcloth with a caning pattern to an oval-shaped painting. It is said to be the first “modern” collage; however, the claim is not definitive, because George Braque was developing a technique using papier collé in the same year.

George Braque

Braque

Georges Braque developed paper collage (papier collé) using shreds of mixed media to produce the effect of actual paint, layered on the canvas with paint later being added. He first used this technique in his 1912 painting, Fruitdish and Glass (above).

Kurt Schwitters

Schwitters3

A collage by German Dada and surrealist artist Kurt Schwitters entitled “Das Undbild” from 1919. Schwitters was famous for his collages, called “Merz Pictures,” in which he attempted to make coherent artistic sense of the world around him using fragments of found objects.

Eduardo Paolozzi

Paolozzi4

Paolozzi is regarded as the father of pop art in Britain. This piece, “I Was a Rich Man’s Plaything” from 1947, is considered the earliest standard-bearer of pop art. It was created from different pieces of commercially printed paper stuck to a single piece of card.

Henri Matisse

Matisse5

Late in his career, Matisse began to work increasingly with cut paper. He used sheets of paper washed over with gouache6 colors and then cut out his shapes and stuck them together, as shown above in a collage entitled “The Snail” from 1953.

Robert Rauschenberg

Rauschenberg7

Most famous for his “Combines” series of collages (1954 to 1962), Rauschenberg extended the conventions of collage and found objects and incorporated trash and interesting urban debris, such as bottles, clocks, radios, clothing, wire and newspaper, into his work.

Richard Hamilton

Hamilton

Created in 1956 for the catalog of an exhibition in London, “Just What Is It that Makes Today’s Homes So Different, So Appealing?” was the first work of pop art (or indeed collage) to achieve iconic status. It consists of images taken mainly from American magazines and advertisements.

Romare Bearden

Bearden8

Bearden truly embraced the collage technique, because the layered, fragmented form allowed him to freely combine ideas, shapes and cultural references in a modern and accessible way. “The Calabash” (above) of 1970 is perhaps his most famous collage.

Now let’s take a closer look at current trends and examples. As you browse through the collages in this showcase, you may notice these trends:

Vintage
Jackcatcurio
The use of vintage images, advertisements and materials is perhaps the biggest trend in collages today. Many collage artists take inspiration from vintage art because of its unique style and beauty.

Mixed media
Collageaday9
Mixed media is simply the use of other media, such as paint, in a collage. Common media include pencil drawings, paints, pastels, charcoals and markers.

Advertising and slogans
Katsup
Not surprisingly, slogans, branding and advertising play a major part in many of the collages featured here. Consumer culture has become a major force since its appearance in collages in the late 1940s.

Retro
Louisixteen10
Retro iconography and imagery have experienced a resurgence in collage, because their style is so distinctive from today’s culture and art.

Urban
GabriLeCabri11
“Found collage” relies heavily on urban wall art, such as torn posters, ads, paint, markers and signs. It is growing in popularity, partly because of artists such as Nick Riggio, who creates urban collage paintings.

Creative Collages Link

Inyourspace12
Inyourspace13

Shikaz14
Shikaz15

Somavenus16
Somavenus17

Sparklingrain18
Sparklingrain19

Agosbeatle20
Agosbeatle21

Rworks22
Rwork23

Kayla928324
Kayla928325

I-heart-ringo26
I-heart-ringo27

Bespatter
Bespatter

Thejader28
Thejader29

Comagirl1630
Comagirl1631

Rwork32
Rwork33

Vuhwex34
Vuhwex35

Medusa-terata36
Medusa-terata37

Somavenus38
Somavenus39

Bob55-joe40
Bob5541

The-px-corporation42
The-px-corporation43

Eesss44
Eesss45

Rworks46
RWork47

Hedgehogbeeblebrox48
Hedgehogbeeblebrox49

Mikem9250
Mikem9251

Somavenus52
Somavenus53

Aditya4art
Aditya4art

Anacronico54
Anacronico55

Rworks56
Rwork57

Lady-with-a-buzzsaw58
Lady-with-a-buzzsaw59

Anacronico60
Anacronico61

Olliep62
Olliep63

Somavenus64
Somavenus65

Gellnerism
Gellnerism

Unreflected
Unreflected

Esraerben
Esraerben

Marek Haiduk66
Marek Haiduk67

Igorska68
Igorska69

Somavenus70
Somavenus71

Prettylittlependant72
Prettylittlependant73

Ex-Agent74
Ex-Agent75

Papermache
Papermache

Vivi-mari76
Vivi-mari77

Nauright78
Nauright79

Rikcat80
Rikcat81

Infamecless82
Infamecless83

Littleblackbooks
Littleblackbooks

Eric Pier84
EricPier85

Mossy Oar86
Mossyoar87

Pianofuzz
Pianofuzz

Marek Haiduk88
Marek Haiduk89

Tutorials Link

Here is a selection of the best tutorials on creating outstanding collages.

  • Mixed Media90
    Use a combination of acrylic paints, brushes, gel and various scraps of paper and images.
  • Digital Collage91
    An in-depth tutorial from Teodoru Badiu on making his piece entitled “Atlas.”
  • Fabric Collage92
    A simple way to use old fabrics to create a unique work of art.

Dedicated Blogs Link

And now, a round-up of the best collage blogs:

Flickr Groups Link

And some Flickr groups dedicated to mixed media and digital- and paper-based collage:

Contemporary Collage Artists Link

  • Winston Smith
    Known for his politically subversive work, Smith has been one of the foremost collage artists since the 1970s.
  • Cecil Touchon121
    Founder of the International Museum of Collage and founder of the International Society of Assemblage and Collage Artists.
  • Jonathan Talbot122
    Respected author on collage who has exhibited at the National Academy and the Museum of Modern Art.
  • Peter Clark123
    His innovative use mark-making make for a collection that exudes character and wit.
  • Mia Moore124
    California-based collage artist whose complex works meld textures of old and new paper and layers of acrylic paint.
  • Claudia Hellmuth125
    A prominent artist who creates mixed media collages that are whimsical and colorful, with a dash of retro.
  • Michelle Caplan126
    California-based collage artist whose complex works meld textures of old and new paper and layers of acrylic paint.
  • Dennis Sibeijn127
    Netherlands-based designer working as an audio-visual designer at Technicolor, and co-founder and designer at Monument studio.

Further Resources Link

You may be interested in the following related post:

(al)

Footnotes Link

  1. 1
  2. 2 http://www.artst.org/cubism/picasso/
  3. 3 http://www.schwitters-stiftung.de/english/bio-ks.html
  4. 4 http://www.tate.org.uk/servlet/ArtistWorks?cgroupid=999999961&artistid=1738&page=1
  5. 5 http://www.henri-matisse.net/
  6. 6 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gouache
  7. 7 http://www.bobrauschenberggallery.com/
  8. 8 http://www.beardenfoundation.org/index2.shtml
  9. 9 http://www.flickr.com/photos/-collage-/2278176033/
  10. 10 http://www.flickr.com/photos/louisixteen/3808519300/in/pool-oldartonly1
  11. 11 http://www.flickr.com/photos/gabricabri/3941559720/in/pool-urban_collage
  12. 12 http://www.flickr.com/photos/inyourspace/3140419702/
  13. 13 http://www.flickr.com/photos/inyourspace/3140419702/
  14. 14 http://shikaz.deviantart.com/art/Understand-Bird-Flu-29022136
  15. 15 http://shikaz.deviantart.com/art/Understand-Bird-Flu-29022136
  16. 16 http://somavenus.deviantart.com/art/Frost-Your-Next-Cake-Free-26237667
  17. 17 http://somavenus.deviantart.com/art/Frost-Your-Next-Cake-Free-26237667
  18. 18 http://sparklingrain.deviantart.com/art/Collage-14742484
  19. 19 http://sparklingrain.deviantart.com/art/Collage-14742484
  20. 20 http://agosbeatle.deviantart.com/art/FASHION-COLLAGE-91415832
  21. 21 http://agosbeatle.deviantart.com/art/FASHION-COLLAGE-91415832
  22. 22 http://www.flickr.com/photos/_rworks/2385722330/in/set-72157604245686977/
  23. 23 http://www.flickr.com/photos/_rworks/2385722330/in/set-72157604245686977/
  24. 24 http://kayla9283.deviantart.com/art/Play-if-you-still-can-64282550
  25. 25 http://kayla9283.deviantart.com/art/Play-if-you-still-can-64282550
  26. 26 http://i-heart-ringo.deviantart.com/art/Collage-Del-Crapo-39217521
  27. 27 http://i-heart-ringo.deviantart.com/art/Collage-Del-Crapo-39217521
  28. 28 http://thejader.deviantart.com/art/Open-Here-27345482
  29. 29 http://thejader.deviantart.com/art/Open-Here-27345482
  30. 30 http://comagirl16.deviantart.com/art/collage-69426781
  31. 31 http://comagirl16.deviantart.com/art/collage-69426781
  32. 32 http://rwork.deviantart.com/art/Urban-Hyolee-77357260
  33. 33 http://rwork.deviantart.com/art/Urban-Hyolee-77357260
  34. 34 http://vuhwex.deviantart.com/art/TV-Take-1-35582968
  35. 35 http://vuhwex.deviantart.com/art/TV-Take-1-35582968
  36. 36 http://medusa-terata.deviantart.com/art/I-Want-I-Need-48018155
  37. 37 http://medusa-terata.deviantart.com/art/I-Want-I-Need-48018155
  38. 38 http://somavenus.deviantart.com/art/almost-never-needs-fixing-28862894
  39. 39 http://somavenus.deviantart.com/art/almost-never-needs-fixing-28862894
  40. 40 http://bob55-joe.deviantart.com/
  41. 41 http://bob55-joe.deviantart.com/
  42. 42 http://the-px-corporation.deviantart.com/art/eye-travel-90046172
  43. 43 http://the-px-corporation.deviantart.com/art/eye-travel-90046172
  44. 44 http://eesss.deviantart.com/art/escalator-of-stress-98432548
  45. 45 http://eesss.deviantart.com/art/escalator-of-stress-98432548
  46. 46 http://rwork.deviantart.com/art/Leah-77430219
  47. 47 http://rwork.deviantart.com/art/Leah-77430219
  48. 48 http://hedgehogbeeblebrox.deviantart.com/art/Big-Tobacco-108871372
  49. 49 http://hedgehogbeeblebrox.deviantart.com/art/Big-Tobacco-108871372
  50. 50 http://mikem92.deviantart.com/art/The-Art-of-the-Tortured-Mind-53569913
  51. 51 http://mikem92.deviantart.com/art/The-Art-of-the-Tortured-Mind-53569913
  52. 52 http://somavenus.deviantart.com/art/a-pimps-revenge-23303835
  53. 53 http://somavenus.deviantart.com/art/a-pimps-revenge-23303835
  54. 54 http://anacronico.deviantart.com/art/Calistoga-still-normal-part2-123427536
  55. 55 http://anacronico.deviantart.com/art/Calistoga-still-normal-part2-123427536
  56. 56 http://www.flickr.com/photos/_rworks/2321336438/in/set-72157604245686977/
  57. 57 http://www.flickr.com/photos/_rworks/2321336438/in/set-72157604245686977/
  58. 58 http://lady-with-a-buzzsaw.deviantart.com/art/blue-dress-34548049
  59. 59 http://lady-with-a-buzzsaw.deviantart.com/art/blue-dress-34548049
  60. 60 http://anacronico.deviantart.com/art/I-m-going-to-grow-wings-91100802
  61. 61 http://anacronico.deviantart.com/art/I-m-going-to-grow-wings-91100802
  62. 62 http://olliep.deviantart.com/art/quot-Phantasma-quot-Big-Top-114403332
  63. 63 http://olliep.deviantart.com/art/quot-Phantasma-quot-Big-Top-114403332
  64. 64 http://somavenus.deviantart.com/art/now-the-living-spaces-16287232
  65. 65 http://somavenus.deviantart.com/art/now-the-living-spaces-16287232
  66. 66 http://www.flickr.com/photos/12392884@N00/4069242722/in/pool-587990@N25
  67. 67 http://www.flickr.com/photos/12392884@N00/4069242722/in/pool-587990@N25
  68. 68 http://igorska.deviantart.com/art/taxi-89616690
  69. 69 http://igorska.deviantart.com/art/taxi-89616690
  70. 70 http://somavenus.deviantart.com/art/tastes-like-chicken-1414727
  71. 71 http://somavenus.deviantart.com/art/tastes-like-chicken-1414727
  72. 72 http://www.flickr.com/photos/prettylittlependant/3864060969/in/pool-618577@N20
  73. 73 http://www.flickr.com/photos/prettylittlependant/3864060969/in/pool-618577@N20
  74. 74 http://ex-agent.deviantart.com/art/the-future-is-bleak-41476675
  75. 75 http://ex-agent.deviantart.com/art/the-future-is-bleak-41476675
  76. 76 http://www.flickr.com/photos/vivi-mari/3859669062/in/set-72157604498199394/
  77. 77 http://www.flickr.com/photos/vivi-mari/3859669062/in/set-72157604498199394/
  78. 78 http://www.flickr.com/photos/nauright/3869374430/in/pool-38554359@N00
  79. 79 http://www.flickr.com/photos/nauright/3869374430/in/pool-38554359@N00
  80. 80 http://www.flickr.com/photos/rikcat/3805999046/in/pool-38554359@N00
  81. 81 http://www.flickr.com/photos/rikcat/3805999046/in/pool-38554359@N00
  82. 82 http://www.flickr.com/photos/cless/3513089978/in/pool-38554359@N00
  83. 83 http://www.flickr.com/photos/cless/3513089978/in/pool-38554359@N00
  84. 84 http://www.flickr.com/photos/esptype/448016950/in/pool-38554359@N00
  85. 85 http://www.flickr.com/photos/esptype/448016950/in/pool-38554359@N00
  86. 86 http://www.flickr.com/photos/mossy_oar/3573395351/in/pool-38554359@N00
  87. 87 http://www.flickr.com/photos/mossy_oar/3573395351/in/pool-38554359@N00
  88. 88 http://www.flickr.com/photos/12392884@N00/3971988792/in/pool-587990@N25
  89. 89 http://www.flickr.com/photos/12392884@N00/3971988792/in/pool-587990@N25
  90. 90 http://www.laraberch.com/collages.php
  91. 91 http://www.apocryph.net/site/tutorialno5/atlas.htm
  92. 92 http://belleandburger.blogspot.com/2009/09/how-to-make-fabric-scrap.html
  93. 93 http://collagelab.blogspot.com/
  94. 94 http://dailycollageproject.blogspot.com/
  95. 95 http://acollageaday.blogspot.com/
  96. 96 http://daily-collage.blogspot.com/
  97. 97 http://www.collageclearinghouse.blogspot.com/
  98. 98 http://scrapiteria.blogspot.com/
  99. 99 http://www.laraberch.com/collages.php
  100. 100 http://www.flickr.com/groups/all_collages/
  101. 101 http://www.flickr.com/groups/62169738@N00/
  102. 102 http://www.flickr.com/groups/52240701787@N01/pool/
  103. 103 http://www.flickr.com/groups/587990@N25/pool/
  104. 104 http://www.flickr.com/groups/648878@N25/pool/
  105. 105 http://www.flickr.com/groups/glueitdown/pool/
  106. 106 http://www.flickr.com/groups/digitalmoodboards/pool/
  107. 107 http://www.flickr.com/groups/innovativecollage/pool/
  108. 108 http://www.flickr.com/groups/56722832@N00/pool/
  109. 109 http://www.flickr.com/groups/oldartonly1/pool/
  110. 110 http://www.flickr.com/groups/50607298@N00/pool/
  111. 111 http://www.flickr.com/groups/retro-collage/pool/
  112. 112 http://www.flickr.com/groups/daphotoshopcollages/pool/
  113. 113 http://www.flickr.com/groups/yourcollage/pool/
  114. 114 http://www.flickr.com/groups/collagejerks/pool/
  115. 115 http://www.flickr.com/groups/38554359@N00/pool/
  116. 116 http://www.flickr.com/groups/urban_collage/
  117. 117 http://www.flickr.com/groups/shapecollage/pool/
  118. 118 http://www.flickr.com/groups/daphotoshopcollages/pool/
  119. 119 http://www.flickr.com/groups/618577@N20/pool/
  120. 120 http://www.flickr.com/groups/social_and_political_collages/pool/
  121. 121 http://touchon.com/
  122. 122 http://www.talbot1.com/
  123. 123 http://www.peterclarkcollage.com/pages/home.html
  124. 124 http://miamooreart.com/home.htm
  125. 125 http://www.collageartist.com/
  126. 126 http://www.michellecaplan.com/
  127. 127 http://www.damnengine.net/
  128. 128 http://www.collageart.org/
  129. 129 http://www.collageartists.org/
  130. 130 http://collagesociety.ning.com/
  131. 131 http://collagemuseum.com/
  132. 132 http://www.cutandpaste.in/
  133. 133 https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/07/21/pop-art-is-alive-classics-and-modern-artworks/
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Grace Smith is a freelance writer and owner of Postscript5, a micro web design studio based in Northern Ireland, UK. Grace has a passion for UX, Branding and User Interface Design.

  1. 1

    Great Inspiration!

    0
  2. 2

    Great collection…just in time… :-D

    0
  3. 3

    No mention of Eduardo Recife? For shame…

    http://www.misprintedtype.com/v4/

    0
  4. 4

    Good stuff Grace! Took me back to that brief period when I was digi-scrapping like mad!! :)

    -1
  5. 5

    Current art trends notwithstanding, it would be great to not have to worry about nudity in my newsreader. :-( The content here is great, but please keep it family-friendly. Thank you!

    -3
    • 6

      T.R. – That issue was voted on by the Smashing Mag community already and the overwhelming majority didn’t care. This isn’t a website for kids.

      0
  6. 7

    Inspired! ;)

    0
  7. 8

    Funny cause yesterday I was creating some Christmas greeting cards with collage! Nice post btw!

    -1
  8. 9

    You forgot Edurado Recife a.k.a. Misprinted Type. He is a great brazilian illustrator.

    -1
  9. 10

    2expertsDesign

    December 14, 2009 4:04 am

    Great collection!

    -2
  10. 11

    This was a GREAT post! As a collagist myself, I appreciate your fairly thorough look at the medium from it’s inception in the fine arts (it’s actually beginnings was previous to Braques and Picasso as a folk-art medium). You’ve introduced me to some folks I didn’t know about, too.

    If you care to, I have some of my own collage works on view on Facebook (not for sale, so I’m not trying to advertise ;)

    -1
  11. 12

    Roisin Markham

    December 14, 2009 5:42 am

    Great resource for collage, Love it. Choc-o-block with information, visual references = brillant!

    -1
  12. 13

    Awesome!!
    Really nice post with great collection.
    Thanks!

    -1
  13. 14

    Smashing Share

    December 13, 2009 9:27 pm

    Really nice post with great collection.

    0
  14. 15

    Nice List…
    :)

    0
  15. 16

    superb inspirations and design trends time by time, even following now a days as well in famous design industry as we also using in different web designs and tutorials.

    2
  16. 17

    Really great artists and inspiration. You can create stunning websites using a collage effect, get your lighting right and it will come together beautifully. I think people should experiment a bit more with this style. I like designs that are a little rough around the edges.

    0
  17. 18

    wow a real history and then an extensive list! havent read everything but a really nice way to do it, awesome!! thank you.

    -1
  18. 19

    thanks so much for the posting my fabric collage link

    -1
  19. 20

    Callum Chapman

    December 14, 2009 1:01 am

    This is a great article, Grace – thanks! I’ve always been a great fan of collage, traditional, digital and the two combined. Next year I’m hoping to do some sort of Moleskine project that could possibly include college so thanks again for the inspiration :)

    -1
  20. 21

    Eduardo Recife is actually one of my favorite Collage artists, not sure how I forgot to include him! His drawings are particularly interesting, for those that want to check him out his work can be viewed at: http://www.misprintedtype.com.

    Other suggestions are also welcome, as I am very interested in discovering new Collage artists.

    -1

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