The word ‘collage’ comes from the French verb ‘coller’ which means ‘to stick’. Collage has emerged as one of the most recognizable forms of art with an aesthetic that leads to the production of entirely unique pieces. Through the combination of images, words, and even objects, Collage artists work with unconventional mixed media to convey their thoughts in visual form.

Collage is the noble conquest of the irrational, the coupling of two realities, irreconcilable in appearance, upon a plane which apparently does not suit them.

—Max Ernst

Collage is a natural for the acrylic medium… gels, matte medium as an adhesive, standard-body acrylics, fluid acrylics, acrylic gouache or watercolor, metallics and interference colors – anything can happen and usually does.

—Stephen Quiller

Where It Comes From

Collage Art first appeared in the 20th century as a form of novelty art, but its roots go back to as early as the 10th century when Japanese artists used to stick paper on silk to write their poetry on the mixed canvas. In the modern period, Collage Art made its way into the mainstream with the Cubism movement when artists like Picasso would glue all kinds of materials to their canvases to add dimensionality to their work. After Cubism, the Dadaists also embraced the art of collage-making. However, they took a lot of liberty with the kind of material they used to make collages which consisted of newspaper clippings, candy wrappers, movie tickets, and other iconographic elements. Lastly, the Surrealists also adapted elements of Collage art to create powerful visually-fused scenes, giving the art form an Avant-Garde quality and the ability to be interpreted in many different ways.

Collage-making, for me, is basically an act of painting, allowing me to indulge in an appetite for immediacy.

—Abe Ajay

Impact on Art

With its mixed aesthetic value, Collage Art was considered to blur the lines between high and low cultures by mixing art with mass-produced, repetitive images to provide social commentary. Similar to art forms like Pop Art, Collages went on to represent the state of cultural production in the modern era. With Collages, artists were able to bring into question the very idea of what it means to create art, allowing people to experience multiple realities simultaneously. This was an extremely unique approach that had not been explored before the advent of Collage Art.

The creation of an art collage from the soul is an inner journey that allows your soul to speak to you. Your soul’s voice can be heard through the images, feelings and insights that surface…

—Kathleen Carrillo

Impact on Film

The style of Collage art was also replicated within several other visual mediums like film. Collage films would combine entirely unrelated footage from two different sources to subvert the audience’s expectations, breaking the linear narrative. Collage films combined animation, sound, and visuals to create a sensory experience and offer different perspectives to one story. ‘The Memories of Angels’ is a film-poem tribute to the Montreal of the ’50s and ’60s by Luc Bourdon produced by the NFB. It’s known to be one of the most successful Collage films in modern times.

The reason for [adding mixed media and collage] is that I like the effect of the inner coupled with the outer. I feel it is a good combination to take the viewer into, for example, depth and richness of color, totally abstract, to a recognizable element such as what the collage imparts. It adds interest and dimension, and thus enriches the work.

—Bela Fidel

Impact on Fashion

Collage is one of the most commonly used mediums in the fashion industry. High-end designers like Coach, Chanel, and Gucci use collages to brainstorm new campaigns and find visual inspiration while trying to come up with fresh ideas. In fashion schools, collage-making is taught as an important part of the design process, and collages themselves are considered to be extremely important development tools in the world of fashion design. From experimentation to the final presentation, fashion designers are always using collages to display their work and put their vision across.

Popular culture isn’t a freeze-frame; it is images zapping by in rapid-fire succession, which is why collage is such an effective way of representing contemporary life. The blur between images creates a kind of motion in the mind.

—James Rosenquist

Impact on Music

The art form of Collage making gave rise to what we now know as sound montages where different pieces of audio are layered together to create a coherent sound. The origin of sound collages can be traced back to works like Mozart’s Don Giovanni. Back in the day, sound collages were produced by sticking together different sections of different vinyl records to produce a unique sound. In recent times, the same practice has now become digital and is referred to as ‘sampling’ where music producers take a single piece of audio, like old recordings or dialogues from important films, and mix it with overlapping audio layers to create an entirely new sound.

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