As a Junk Journal creator, have you ever thought, ‘I am not a real Artist’?
I feel like I am a real artist but I call myself a creator, a maker, but why do I refrain from calling myself an artist?
Honestly, because I do not want to oversell myself, I guess. But, also, I don’t want you, readers and watchers, to feel or maybe think that I believe I am better than anyone else because that is far from true. What is true however, is that we are ALL ARTISTS in this community, for so many reasons, but I will discuss just one of them here.
When I am creating, I see the precursors to much of the work I produce. I critique and relate it to historic art works, movements and ‘artists’ because of my love for art. You do not have to have an art history background or education in the subject, but what you do need is an interest! I am certain we all can name paintings, artists, sculptures just from our own life experience. Have you never looked at something on Facebook, Pinterest or Instagram and thought, ‘that reminds me of …’?
I love abstract art, and one area I really have always had an interest in is collage, montage (photomontage) and ‘cut-outs’. I apply this to pretty much everything I do. Not only the physical items I make but also my digital work for kits. So, if I, like you, produce this physical collage, how can we not be artists?
So, what is collage, how does this develop in historic art movements and how do we apply it to our junk journal makes now?
Wow, what a complicated and loaded question!
Let’s start with the basics:
Collage is a collection of things, or different materials and papers, stuck to a base. We all do this, right?
What is Cubism?
In simple terms, cubism is an art movement where the idea of perspective and/or viewpoint is completely disregarded. So, we are not looking at a true representation. We will see a lot of geometric shapes and later collage items to add texture.
How and when did this type of collage come about?
In around 1910, Pablo Picasso, Juan Gris and George Braque, probably known as ‘cubism’ collage pioneers, began experimenting with texture in their work using pasted items and papers. Cubism was already a style, but this was not the birth of collage you understand. This took place many years, centuries even, before and that is a whole other story.
Why would it be appropriate to compare or relate the work of Dadaist artist and cubist collage to the work of a junk journaler? Well, they used everyday items; magazine pages, tickets, ephemeral paper items, and portraits and older artworks to create their ‘collage’. They may have had a statement to make, maybe political or even to refer to mass media and pop culture, but the techniques and materials are what we use now. I mean we, meaning the journal making community.
One of my all-time favourites collage artists is Hannah Höch. She was influenced by Picasso for sure, and I first came across her Photomontage during my university days. I just loved it because it looked like something I could do and achieve myself! I loved the whimsical, deconstructed deformity of her work and to be perfectly honest, I am still inspired by her work today.
I think of her every time I stick a tiny vintage photographed person to butterfly wings and sit them on a toadstool, for example! I am sure if you look at her Collage with Ethnic Mask (undated) you, too, can see why, and I could just rest my case there. I don’t want to use technical jargon or make this complicated. I want to show you some straightforward visual comparisons.
When creating collage or masterboards, I can tear random elements but have always found this a little uncomfortable and I know I am not alone. I much prefer to take straight edges and use the horizontal and vertical alignments of pieces. Influenced, I am sure, again by Höch, her Untitled (Dada) from c1922 is a perfect example of this style.
What am I trying to say? Well, I would love for you to investigate this further, not read unless you want to, but to check out some of the artists’ work that I will list below. To see if you can make any comparisons to collages you have made. Have you used similar images or materials? I would love for you to understand that collage is a true art form and technique - that is a fact. Therefore, I believe, if you have done this then you ARE an artist!
Check out some of my favourites. I have added titles of images that I love and really think they relate to what we do:
Jaun Gris (The Sunblind)
Pablo Picasso (Guitar)
Kazimir Malevich (Lady at the Poster Column)
Henri Matisse (cut outs)
Hannah Höch (Collage with Ethnic Mask)