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Get Creative With Collage Art: Trends and Inspiration

          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.

          Collage art 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.

          Pioneers Of Collage Art

          Pablo Picasso
          collage art - Picasso
          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
          Schwitters
          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
          Paolozzi
          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
          Matisse
          Late in his career, Matisse began to work increasingly with cut paper. He used sheets of paper washed over with gouache colors and then cut out his shapes and stuck them together, as shown above in a collage entitled "The Snail" from 1953.

          Robert Rauschenberg
          Rauschenberg
          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
          Bearden
          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
          Collageaday
          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
          Louisixteen
          Retro iconography and imagery have experienced a resurgence in collage, because their style is so distinctive from today's culture and art.

          Urban
          GabriLeCabri
          "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

          Inyourspace
          Inyourspace

          Shikaz
          Shikaz

          Somavenus
          Somavenus

          Sparklingrain
          Sparklingrain

          Agosbeatle
          Agosbeatle

          Rworks
          Rwork

          Kayla9283
          Kayla9283

          I-heart-ringo
          I-heart-ringo

          Thejader
          Thejader

          Comagirl16
          Comagirl16

          Rwork
          Rwork

          Vuhwex
          Vuhwex

          Medusa-terata
          Medusa-terata

          Somavenus
          Somavenus

          Bob55-joe
          Bob55

          The-px-corporation
          The-px-corporation

          Eesss
          Eesss

          Rworks
          RWork

          Hedgehogbeeblebrox
          Hedgehogbeeblebrox

          Mikem92
          Mikem92

          Somavenus
          Somavenus

          Anacronico
          Anacronico

          Rworks
          Rwork

          Lady-with-a-buzzsaw
          Lady-with-a-buzzsaw

          Anacronico
          Anacronico

          Olliep
          Olliep

          Somavenus
          Somavenus

          Gellnerism
          Gellnerism

          Unreflected
          Unreflected

          Marek Haiduk
          Marek Haiduk

          Igorska
          Igorska

          Somavenus
          Somavenus

          Prettylittlependant
          Prettylittlependant

          Ex-Agent
          Ex-Agent

          Papermache
          Papermache

          Vivi-mari
          Vivi-mari

          Nauright
          Nauright

          Rikcat
          Rikcat

          Infamecless
          Infamecless

          Littleblackbooks
          Littleblackbooks

          Eric Pier
          EricPier

          Mossy Oar
          Mossyoar

          Marek Haiduk
          Marek Haiduk

          Tutorials

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

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

          Dedicated Blogs

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

          Flickr Groups

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

          Contemporary Collage Artists

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

          Further Resources

          You may be interested in the following related post:

          Smashing Editorial (al, il)