Thursday, October 19, 2006

it's a chick thing

All Roads Lead To
5" x 7"

Collage: I love it. I've been reading about it, experimenting with it and discovering that it only works in a limited way for me. When collage works it's fantastic; when it doesn't work it's a mess. Anyone who says that it doesn't take any skill or talent to make a decent collage has never done it. It may not take drawing or painting skills necessarily, but there are many art forms that don't. Check out collage artists like Claudine Hellmuth, Teesha Moore, Tiffini Elektra X, Misty Mawn or Kristin Peterson and tell me that this isn't skilled work. When I see their work I know I need to stick to painting.

I noticed something interesting during the past few weeks, though. Almost all collage artists are women. There are exceptions of course, but if you look at the workshop instructor list of any mixed media conference 99% of the experts are women. Men, as artists, tend to be purists about medium. Even artists who paint in a collage-inspired manner usually do it exclusively in one medium. So I'm wondering why. And is it mostly women who like to buy collage art? What's the psychology behind it?

The only reason that comes to my mind is the fact that collage seems to be the visual art equivalent of multi-tasking ... and we all know women are the experts at that. Creating order out of chaos is an xx thing.

19 Comments:

Blogger Heather said...

Oh, I've been wanting to try my hand at collage in the WORST way. I really should find a workshop somewhere. I think it would be a great way of reflecting some important moments in life - like my trip to Africa. (Oops - sorry - didn't mean to rub it in.)

19/10/06 2:54 PM  
Blogger Jaimie said...

Though I haven't made any in almost a year, I LOVE making collages. I think my first six months or so on IF were primarily collage submissions. I would buy one of those black hard cover water color books and try to do one a day. (or was it one a week). Anyway it's what got me out of my 2 year non creative doldrums, brought on by the US invasion of Iraq, and eventually led to my return to painting with acrylics last winter. And yeah I had never thought of it, but it does seem to be a chick thing. Maybe we are just more flexible in our creative efforts.
Cool collage, Andrea.

19/10/06 3:48 PM  
Blogger andrea said...

Heather: Check out Claudine Hellmuth's book "Collage Discovery Workshop". It's full of great ideas. There's even an example of a beautiful (grumblegrumble) African collage.

Jaimie: Oo. Must go and check your archives now.

19/10/06 5:02 PM  
Blogger Brian the Mennonite said...

Maps of any sort have always been intriguing to me, especially ones of the ancient world. I always think of a Bruce Cockburn song where the lyrics go something like, "a piece of a map from somewhere, start my feet to itching." I always get "itchy feet" whenever I see a map.
I love your collage. You can do more than paint.

19/10/06 6:09 PM  
Blogger andrea said...

Brian: I love maps, too. I actually have spent hours with them and when we travel my husband and I fight like cats and dogs over who gets the map. Did you see "Wild Germans and Other Barbarians" in the upper right corner of this one? I love that.

19/10/06 7:07 PM  
Anonymous kyknoord said...

And creating beer out of grain is a XXXX thing.

19/10/06 10:36 PM  
Blogger Sheri Burhoe said...

Nice work on the collage Andrea ! :)Interesting percentages with the men - women and collaging.Who knows eh ?!

20/10/06 6:43 AM  
Blogger Brian the Mennonite said...

It would have been my ancestors a few generations ago who were a part of those "wild Germans and other Barbarians". How little we Mennonites have changed. :)

20/10/06 7:06 AM  
Blogger PG said...

I'm rather fond of Kurt Schwitters myself, generally acknowledged to be one the finest (male collage) artists of the twentieth century...

20/10/06 8:18 AM  
Blogger andrea said...

Kyknoord: and sometimes a ZZZZ thing, too.

Sheri: Who knows?

Brian: According to the ancient Romans, anyway...

PG: Thanks for bringing up the flip side of the same coin. Picasso was among the first to experiment in mixed media and Schwitters made a name for himself with it. Though women do ~99% of collage currently, who has the status of a Picasso or a Schwitters?

20/10/06 8:55 AM  
Blogger Caroline said...

One of the people who encouraged me to use collage was a man - he was my stained glass teacher for a year.

I think one of the really big problems with collage and professional artists is the copyright issue - I'm happy to create collages out of photos from magazines etc. etc. I love the fact that I'm incorporating other people's images, in my own work but I've worried about showing things done like that on my blog so its bound to be an even bigger issue if you want to sell it. Of course you can restrict it to your own old photos and pictures, or even just to textured/coloured papers but that spoils half the fun for me.

Perhaps one of the reasons is that I like to be surprised by the images that I decide to incorporate.

20/10/06 10:45 AM  
Blogger Caty said...

I love collages as wekk. That is why i love Nick bantock and Barbara Hodgson!

20/10/06 1:47 PM  
Blogger Caty said...

as well...I meant

20/10/06 1:47 PM  
Blogger andrea said...

Caroline: I collect copyright-free clip art to use. Dover Publications is a great source.

Caty: Excellent. I was hoping I'd be provocative enough with this post that someone would tell me about a *current* male collage artist. Nick Bantock's work is fabulous! As for Barbara Hodgson I didn't have time to sift through the google hits. (It's a common enough name that the mother of the boy I had a crush on at age 15 had the same name :)

20/10/06 1:54 PM  
Blogger Jana Bouc said...

I like your map collage. I agree that doing GOOD collage is just as challenging as any other art form. But maybe because it doesn't require painting or drawing skills it accessible to anyone, thus there is so much BAD collage out there. My mother is a master of the bad collage, with weird junk cut out of magazines to make little pictures. It can be the perfect senior center or kindergarten activity or, like Matisse's cut paper paintings (is that collage?) the work of a master artist. One of my painting group members took a collage class from a man last year, which led to big leaps in quality of her compositions in her paintings.

22/10/06 10:23 AM  
Blogger Sheri Burhoe said...

Nick Bantock's work is amazing ! :)I borrowed a book with his works in it once.

22/10/06 6:10 PM  
Blogger Toni said...

reading through the comments I was trying to remember the male collage artist who is well know. then I finally reached the end with sheri's comment and that is who I was thinking of Nick Bantock.
If you have never seen his work check it out.
http://www.nickbantock.com/

22/10/06 8:09 PM  
Blogger tiffinix said...

Wow. I am honored you would mention me! Thank you Andrea that is an insane complement coming from such an incredible artist like you. I can not imagine any medium can not be conquered by you. Frankly, you are just to talented. Your compositions and color palette is so aesthetically perfect to me.
There are definitely different types of collage artists I so agree. I tend to be more highly attracted to more of a masculine style. Keith Lo Bue, James Michael Starr, Judi Riesch, David Wallace. . .

25/10/06 10:10 AM  
Anonymous Yari said...

I saw them all and definitely, I liked Misty Mawn the best -- They are all artists and it is not an easy thing. No ART making is easy although it seems it is to the non-artists.

14/11/06 5:29 PM  

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