Like writing, collaging is about making choices. Recently, I was working on a very simple collage involving a young girl in a blue bonnet placed over a peaceful lake and as I looked for other pieces to add, I found myself faced with multiple choices. This is one of the thrills of making collages–the infinite possibilities. I took some photos of the various stages and ideas. Here’s how it went…
First, here’s our star: The Blue Girl, as I call her. I decided to flip the lake over behind her, giving it an otherworldly sort of vibe.
Now, when I say I call her The Blue Girl, I don’t want you to think I was sitting there, moving paper pieces around and muttering in a weird voice, “Well, Blue Girl, let’s see what you look like with this building on your head.”
Well, okay. If you think it’s funny, go ahead.
“Okay, Blue Girl, don’t be alarmed, but I’m going to put a ginormous camera with a flash bulb behind you. What’s a flash bulb, you ask? It’s like a very slow strobe light.”
One of the coolest things that sometimes happens in collaging is when you get something that works like a weird optical illusion. One of my main collage heroes, John Stezaker, has mad skills when it comes to this. This Mars Bar, like Blue Girl, comes from an advertisement out of a 1950s-era Life Magazine (or it may be Saturday Evening Post, I can’t remember). Placed at just the right angle, the nuts in the candy become her eyes. Mmmmm, eyes.
Okay, so this is weird. But I like weird.
“Blue Girl, this is Butterfinger Ghost Boy. He wants to float around behind your head. I don’t know why his eye-holes are so big.”
I like how Tuxedo Dude can so easily just lean on her shoulder like that. But, I don’t know. They don’t really look like a good pairing. Moving her over to the right kind of screws up the balance of the whole thing too.
Emerging like a leaping shark behind her is this sweaty boxer guy. His aggressive vibe is kind of a fun juxtaposition (sorry to throw in these advanced art terms). I ended up using him for another collage just a few days later. He was too good to languish in the scrap pile.
“Blue Girl! Paparazzi alert! Don’t turn around! And watch out for his pointy elbow!”
I’m a sucker for hands coming into the frame. I mean, that shit looks crazy cool, doesn’t it? And it’s going to squeeze some toothpaste into the sky/lake. Is this some kind of political statement about fluoride in the water?! “Watch out, Blue Girl! Keep those lips sealed!”
Oh, look how charming that phone is. It matches Blue Girl so well, not to mention the lake/sky. And there seems to be a small flower arrangement attached to the phone, because pretty. I also like the idea that this girl could be thinking of a phone, as in daydreaming about calling some far away friend or flame.
And finally, the official scan (sorry about the non-pro camera phone quality of the previous images)! The newspaper words are fairly minimal and poetic. I like to imagine what Blue Girl would sound like singing by this lake/sky/forest. Yodel-y maybe? Perhaps Enya-ish? Singing is just levitating breathing, right? I think this end result makes the best sense (or nonsense, which is often better). Also–paper cutter! Such nice straight lines.
“Blue Girl, welcome to the Internet. I’ve grown quite fond of you.”