Collage with Simon English at City Lit
Last night I began a 4-evening collage course at City Lit, an adult evening collage in central London. I am addicted to art courses and had heard the teacher was a brilliant one, and indeed he does seem to be, so far mainly because he is passionate and confident and articulate about this subject. After bombarding us with examples of contemporary collage artists via a slideshow, and giving us a long list of techniques and methods to try, we got thrown in the deep end. We had to wade through piles of coloured papers, materials, magazines, and media to pick out what spoke to us and just... create a collage. No more brief. I must admit I had expected more direction and hoped to be led in terms of thought process a little more - but this is because I easily get overwhelmed with possibility and have a huge fear of ending up creating nothing of any value.
I must also admit that I am strongly led by colour and texture rather than by clever juxtaposition of ideas / things, which is really what serious collage is all about. "What collage loves most is the 2 things coming together and having a conversation", Simon says. Materials have a voice and they are powerful, whether they are transparent, opaque, pierced, torn, etc - anything can conjure up meaning, for example the moment something is made vertical it goes totemic, ie, it can be said to remind us of a body. With collage we can explore the intricate relationship between making, meaning and metaphor.
So today we had a playaround, which was only really an hour - never long enough!
Tomorrow, it's all about photomontage, and an examination of metamorphosis in the language of collage and art. We're going to experiment with surrealist "heads, bodies, and legs" in a sort of game, to construct new hybrid bodies and portraits. A bit like the game we used to play at the dinner table, "Consequences" where you draw the head, folded it, passed it on and the next person drew the upper torso without seeing what you'd drawn, and so on.