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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.

Be sure to check out the following articles:

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

Pioneers Link

Pablo Picasso

Picasso5

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

Schwitters6

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

Paolozzi7

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

Matisse8

Late in his career, Matisse began to work increasingly with cut paper. He used sheets of paper washed over with gouache9 colors and then cut out his shapes and stuck them together, as shown above in a collage entitled “The Snail” from 1953.

Robert Rauschenberg

Rauschenberg10

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

Bearden11

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
Collageaday12
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
Louisixteen13
Retro iconography and imagery have experienced a resurgence in collage, because their style is so distinctive from today’s culture and art.

Urban
GabriLeCabri14
“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

Inyourspace15
Inyourspace16

Shikaz17
Shikaz18

Somavenus19
Somavenus20

Sparklingrain21
Sparklingrain22

Agosbeatle23
Agosbeatle24

Rworks25
Rwork26

Kayla928327
Kayla928328

I-heart-ringo29
I-heart-ringo30

Bespatter
Bespatter

Thejader31
Thejader32

Comagirl1633
Comagirl1634

Rwork35
Rwork36

Vuhwex37
Vuhwex38

Medusa-terata39
Medusa-terata40

Somavenus41
Somavenus42

Bob55-joe43
Bob5544

The-px-corporation45
The-px-corporation46

Eesss47
Eesss48

Rworks49
RWork50

Hedgehogbeeblebrox51
Hedgehogbeeblebrox52

Mikem9253
Mikem9254

Somavenus55
Somavenus56

Aditya4art
Aditya4art

Anacronico57
Anacronico58

Rworks59
Rwork60

Lady-with-a-buzzsaw61
Lady-with-a-buzzsaw62

Anacronico63
Anacronico64

Olliep65
Olliep66

Somavenus67
Somavenus68

Gellnerism
Gellnerism

Unreflected
Unreflected

Esraerben
Esraerben

Marek Haiduk69
Marek Haiduk70

Igorska71
Igorska72

Somavenus73
Somavenus74

Prettylittlependant75
Prettylittlependant76

Ex-Agent77
Ex-Agent78

Papermache
Papermache

Vivi-mari79
Vivi-mari80

Nauright81
Nauright82

Rikcat83
Rikcat84

Infamecless85
Infamecless86

Littleblackbooks
Littleblackbooks

Eric Pier87
EricPier88

Mossy Oar89
Mossyoar90

Pianofuzz
Pianofuzz

Marek Haiduk91
Marek Haiduk92

Tutorials Link

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

  • Mixed Media93
    Use a combination of acrylic paints, brushes, gel and various scraps of paper and images.
  • Digital Collage94
    An in-depth tutorial from Teodoru Badiu on making his piece entitled “Atlas.”
  • Fabric Collage95
    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 Touchon124
    Founder of the International Museum of Collage and founder of the International Society of Assemblage and Collage Artists.
  • Jonathan Talbot125
    Respected author on collage who has exhibited at the National Academy and the Museum of Modern Art.
  • Peter Clark126
    His innovative use mark-making make for a collection that exudes character and wit.
  • Mia Moore127
    California-based collage artist whose complex works meld textures of old and new paper and layers of acrylic paint.
  • Claudia Hellmuth128
    A prominent artist who creates mixed media collages that are whimsical and colorful, with a dash of retro.
  • Michelle Caplan129
    California-based collage artist whose complex works meld textures of old and new paper and layers of acrylic paint.
  • Dennis Sibeijn130
    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 https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/07/pop-art-is-alive-classics-and-modern-artworks/
  2. 2 https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2010/02/art-manifestos-and-their-applications-in-contemporary-design/
  3. 3 https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2010/07/what-do-we-really-mean-by-art/
  4. 4 https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/01/8-inspiring-highlights-of-ascii-art/
  5. 5 http://www.artst.org/cubism/picasso/
  6. 6 http://www.schwitters-stiftung.de/english/bio-ks.html
  7. 7 http://www.tate.org.uk/servlet/ArtistWorks?cgroupid=999999961&artistid=1738&page=1
  8. 8 http://www.henri-matisse.net/
  9. 9 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gouache
  10. 10 http://www.bobrauschenberggallery.com/
  11. 11 http://www.beardenfoundation.org/index2.shtml
  12. 12 http://www.flickr.com/photos/-collage-/2278176033/
  13. 13 http://www.flickr.com/photos/louisixteen/3808519300/in/pool-oldartonly1
  14. 14 http://www.flickr.com/photos/gabricabri/3941559720/in/pool-urban_collage
  15. 15 http://www.flickr.com/photos/inyourspace/3140419702/
  16. 16 http://www.flickr.com/photos/inyourspace/3140419702/
  17. 17 http://shikaz.deviantart.com/art/Understand-Bird-Flu-29022136
  18. 18 http://shikaz.deviantart.com/art/Understand-Bird-Flu-29022136
  19. 19 http://somavenus.deviantart.com/art/Frost-Your-Next-Cake-Free-26237667
  20. 20 http://somavenus.deviantart.com/art/Frost-Your-Next-Cake-Free-26237667
  21. 21 http://sparklingrain.deviantart.com/art/Collage-14742484
  22. 22 http://sparklingrain.deviantart.com/art/Collage-14742484
  23. 23 http://agosbeatle.deviantart.com/art/FASHION-COLLAGE-91415832
  24. 24 http://agosbeatle.deviantart.com/art/FASHION-COLLAGE-91415832
  25. 25 http://www.flickr.com/photos/_rworks/2385722330/in/set-72157604245686977/
  26. 26 http://www.flickr.com/photos/_rworks/2385722330/in/set-72157604245686977/
  27. 27 http://kayla9283.deviantart.com/art/Play-if-you-still-can-64282550
  28. 28 http://kayla9283.deviantart.com/art/Play-if-you-still-can-64282550
  29. 29 http://i-heart-ringo.deviantart.com/art/Collage-Del-Crapo-39217521
  30. 30 http://i-heart-ringo.deviantart.com/art/Collage-Del-Crapo-39217521
  31. 31 http://thejader.deviantart.com/art/Open-Here-27345482
  32. 32 http://thejader.deviantart.com/art/Open-Here-27345482
  33. 33 http://comagirl16.deviantart.com/art/collage-69426781
  34. 34 http://comagirl16.deviantart.com/art/collage-69426781
  35. 35 http://rwork.deviantart.com/art/Urban-Hyolee-77357260
  36. 36 http://rwork.deviantart.com/art/Urban-Hyolee-77357260
  37. 37 http://vuhwex.deviantart.com/art/TV-Take-1-35582968
  38. 38 http://vuhwex.deviantart.com/art/TV-Take-1-35582968
  39. 39 http://medusa-terata.deviantart.com/art/I-Want-I-Need-48018155
  40. 40 http://medusa-terata.deviantart.com/art/I-Want-I-Need-48018155
  41. 41 http://somavenus.deviantart.com/art/almost-never-needs-fixing-28862894
  42. 42 http://somavenus.deviantart.com/art/almost-never-needs-fixing-28862894
  43. 43 http://bob55-joe.deviantart.com/
  44. 44 http://bob55-joe.deviantart.com/
  45. 45 http://the-px-corporation.deviantart.com/art/eye-travel-90046172
  46. 46 http://the-px-corporation.deviantart.com/art/eye-travel-90046172
  47. 47 http://eesss.deviantart.com/art/escalator-of-stress-98432548
  48. 48 http://eesss.deviantart.com/art/escalator-of-stress-98432548
  49. 49 http://rwork.deviantart.com/art/Leah-77430219
  50. 50 http://rwork.deviantart.com/art/Leah-77430219
  51. 51 http://hedgehogbeeblebrox.deviantart.com/art/Big-Tobacco-108871372
  52. 52 http://hedgehogbeeblebrox.deviantart.com/art/Big-Tobacco-108871372
  53. 53 http://mikem92.deviantart.com/art/The-Art-of-the-Tortured-Mind-53569913
  54. 54 http://mikem92.deviantart.com/art/The-Art-of-the-Tortured-Mind-53569913
  55. 55 http://somavenus.deviantart.com/art/a-pimps-revenge-23303835
  56. 56 http://somavenus.deviantart.com/art/a-pimps-revenge-23303835
  57. 57 http://anacronico.deviantart.com/art/Calistoga-still-normal-part2-123427536
  58. 58 http://anacronico.deviantart.com/art/Calistoga-still-normal-part2-123427536
  59. 59 http://www.flickr.com/photos/_rworks/2321336438/in/set-72157604245686977/
  60. 60 http://www.flickr.com/photos/_rworks/2321336438/in/set-72157604245686977/
  61. 61 http://lady-with-a-buzzsaw.deviantart.com/art/blue-dress-34548049
  62. 62 http://lady-with-a-buzzsaw.deviantart.com/art/blue-dress-34548049
  63. 63 http://anacronico.deviantart.com/art/I-m-going-to-grow-wings-91100802
  64. 64 http://anacronico.deviantart.com/art/I-m-going-to-grow-wings-91100802
  65. 65 http://olliep.deviantart.com/art/quot-Phantasma-quot-Big-Top-114403332
  66. 66 http://olliep.deviantart.com/art/quot-Phantasma-quot-Big-Top-114403332
  67. 67 http://somavenus.deviantart.com/art/now-the-living-spaces-16287232
  68. 68 http://somavenus.deviantart.com/art/now-the-living-spaces-16287232
  69. 69 http://www.flickr.com/photos/12392884@N00/4069242722/in/pool-587990@N25
  70. 70 http://www.flickr.com/photos/12392884@N00/4069242722/in/pool-587990@N25
  71. 71 http://igorska.deviantart.com/art/taxi-89616690
  72. 72 http://igorska.deviantart.com/art/taxi-89616690
  73. 73 http://somavenus.deviantart.com/art/tastes-like-chicken-1414727
  74. 74 http://somavenus.deviantart.com/art/tastes-like-chicken-1414727
  75. 75 http://www.flickr.com/photos/prettylittlependant/3864060969/in/pool-618577@N20
  76. 76 http://www.flickr.com/photos/prettylittlependant/3864060969/in/pool-618577@N20
  77. 77 http://ex-agent.deviantart.com/art/the-future-is-bleak-41476675
  78. 78 http://ex-agent.deviantart.com/art/the-future-is-bleak-41476675
  79. 79 http://www.flickr.com/photos/vivi-mari/3859669062/in/set-72157604498199394/
  80. 80 http://www.flickr.com/photos/vivi-mari/3859669062/in/set-72157604498199394/
  81. 81 http://www.flickr.com/photos/nauright/3869374430/in/pool-38554359@N00
  82. 82 http://www.flickr.com/photos/nauright/3869374430/in/pool-38554359@N00
  83. 83 http://www.flickr.com/photos/rikcat/3805999046/in/pool-38554359@N00
  84. 84 http://www.flickr.com/photos/rikcat/3805999046/in/pool-38554359@N00
  85. 85 http://www.flickr.com/photos/cless/3513089978/in/pool-38554359@N00
  86. 86 http://www.flickr.com/photos/cless/3513089978/in/pool-38554359@N00
  87. 87 http://www.flickr.com/photos/esptype/448016950/in/pool-38554359@N00
  88. 88 http://www.flickr.com/photos/esptype/448016950/in/pool-38554359@N00
  89. 89 http://www.flickr.com/photos/mossy_oar/3573395351/in/pool-38554359@N00
  90. 90 http://www.flickr.com/photos/mossy_oar/3573395351/in/pool-38554359@N00
  91. 91 http://www.flickr.com/photos/12392884@N00/3971988792/in/pool-587990@N25
  92. 92 http://www.flickr.com/photos/12392884@N00/3971988792/in/pool-587990@N25
  93. 93 http://www.laraberch.com
  94. 94 http://www.apocryph.net/site/tutorialno5/atlas.htm
  95. 95 http://belleandburger.blogspot.com/2009/09/how-to-make-fabric-scrap.html
  96. 96 http://collagelab.blogspot.com/
  97. 97 http://dailycollageproject.blogspot.com/
  98. 98 http://acollageaday.blogspot.com/
  99. 99 http://daily-collage.blogspot.com/
  100. 100 http://www.collageclearinghouse.blogspot.com/
  101. 101 http://scrapiteria.blogspot.com/
  102. 102 http://www.laraberch.com
  103. 103 http://www.flickr.com/groups/all_collages/
  104. 104 http://www.flickr.com/groups/62169738@N00/
  105. 105 http://www.flickr.com/groups/52240701787@N01/pool/
  106. 106 http://www.flickr.com/groups/587990@N25/pool/
  107. 107 http://www.flickr.com/groups/648878@N25/pool/
  108. 108 http://www.flickr.com/groups/glueitdown/pool/
  109. 109 http://www.flickr.com/groups/digitalmoodboards/pool/
  110. 110 http://www.flickr.com/groups/innovativecollage/pool/
  111. 111 http://www.flickr.com/groups/56722832@N00/pool/
  112. 112 http://www.flickr.com/groups/oldartonly1/pool/
  113. 113 http://www.flickr.com/groups/50607298@N00/pool/
  114. 114 http://www.flickr.com/groups/retro-collage/pool/
  115. 115 http://www.flickr.com/groups/daphotoshopcollages/pool/
  116. 116 http://www.flickr.com/groups/yourcollage/pool/
  117. 117 http://www.flickr.com/groups/collagejerks/pool/
  118. 118 http://www.flickr.com/groups/38554359@N00/pool/
  119. 119 http://www.flickr.com/groups/urban_collage/
  120. 120 http://www.flickr.com/groups/shapecollage/pool/
  121. 121 http://www.flickr.com/groups/daphotoshopcollages/pool/
  122. 122 http://www.flickr.com/groups/618577@N20/pool/
  123. 123 http://www.flickr.com/groups/social_and_political_collages/pool/
  124. 124 http://touchon.com/
  125. 125 http://www.talbot1.com/
  126. 126 http://www.peterclarkcollage.com/pages/home.html
  127. 127 http://miamooreart.com/home.htm
  128. 128 http://www.collageartist.com/
  129. 129 http://www.michellecaplan.com/
  130. 130 http://www.damnengine.net/
  131. 131 http://www.collageart.org/
  132. 132 http://www.collageartists.org/
  133. 133 http://collagemuseum.com/
  134. 134 http://www.cutandpaste.in/
  135. 135 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.

    0
  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
  21. 22

    Hmm, some collages are quite good. But the ones you get from ‘professional’ artists, particularly Henri Matisse just aren’t that great.

    0
  22. 23

    Great post, Grace! I have always been a fan of collage and looking through the post only reaffirms that love! ;) Thanks!

    0
  23. 24

    Laurent JOUVIN

    December 14, 2009 4:38 pm

    I just wish we had more opportunities to do this kind of work. Nice post!

    -2
  24. 25

    You missed one of the most popular fashion examples; http://missdiorcouture.souliss.com/ Years worth of collages from vogue culture!

    -1
  25. 26

    These pieces are incredible and inspirational. Thank you.

    -1
  26. 27

    Most exciting article I’ve seen here yet…I love the sense of fun that seems to come out in collage art. Thanks for collating so many great links…I’ll definitely keep coming back to this!

    I often go here http://www.sito.org/synergy/gridcosm/ for an eye-full. Collaborative digital cut n pasting.

    1
  27. 28

    Hernan Valencia

    December 29, 2009 10:56 am

    Grace, how long did it take you to aggregate all those links? Great source(s) of inspiration though.

    -1
  28. 29

    Wow. HUGE collection, huh? Starred in Google Reader and Favorited!
    But I have a note: the link for “Pop Art is Alive” is broken, pointing for this one instead. I would love to see this post! :D

    -1
  29. 30

    Hi Grace,
    I’ve been working on collage-sculptures for awhile, and I thought maybe you would be interested in taking a look.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/25038365@N05/
    Happy holidays,
    Scott

    -1
  30. 31

    Kevin Goldsmith

    January 8, 2010 11:27 am

    What about Joseph Cornell? His shadow boxes were true collages. His work was a big inspiration to me.

    -1
  31. 32

    Anja Bloch-Hamre

    February 24, 2010 5:13 am

    See http://www.drouge.com, personal collage art, made in photoshop with people’s own pictures :-)

    -1
  32. 33

    Michael Albert

    May 2, 2010 10:42 am

    Greetings Collage Lovers! I enjoyed your study of collage!
    Have you seen my work? http://www.michaelalbert.com
    I have displayed some of my cereal box collages around the NY metro area over the past few years. I also have a book out about my art & story called, “An Artist’s America” (Henry Holt, 2008) and have been teaching about my Modern Pop Art at libraries all over the NY Metro area & betond lately. See my homepage for schedule. Would love to know what collage scholars think of mine!
    Best Regards,
    M
    A

    -1
  33. 34

    Hey! This article was just smashing!!!
    Thanks for pumping up collage clearinghouse!!
    web luv to you all….
    Julie

    -1
  34. 35

    Bitches getting series, trololol

    0

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