I use collages both as marketing tools and as works of art in their own right. In this blog I explore a bit about the art of collage. How I create collages and how I use them.
The Art of Collage
Definition of Collage
Collage at its most basic is just pulling together various bits and pieces together. The word collage means a collection or combination of things. In art terms, this could be sticking together various pieces of paper and/or photographs on a background to create a new piece, a collage created of fabrics or perhaps a photo collage. A photo collage is sometimes called a ‘joiner’. David Hockney is one of the most famous proponents of the art of collage.
Photo/image collages can be all neat and tidy with borders and dividing spaces, overlapping piles of images, or even putting images together with no joins (for example, to create a panorama). Read more about the technique for photo collages here. You can have as much fun with them as you want, and be creative, as I did with ‘Gorgeous Hydrangeas Collage 1’.
How Do I Create Collages?
Creating A Collage Manually
I do occasionally produce collages manually. In my studio, I have a large collage comprising a painted head of a Buddha with peacock feathers added, glitter and a lot of knitting wool – fun but very time consuming.
I also sometimes use items stuck to a board such as the image above ‘Thought Control’. The stage of opening of the zippers show the things allowed to wander in my mind and the things that I keep closed out. Note one has a padlock! I am sure a psychotherapist would have a field day with this one.
There are various software programmes available to create photo/image collages. Out of habit I use a, now discontinued, software programme called Picasa which I was lucky enough to have installed before it was ‘retired‘ by Google. Stick with what you are comfortable with is not a bad motto right? Given its popularity I think it is still possible to find the programme if you search.
Creating a collage is not as straightforward as it might sound. Thought has to go into the size of the collage, the images to be used and what order they appear. Will they have a border? What about dividing strips (and in which color) or join together? Should the images overlap?
Much depends on the thinking behind creating a collage – what is the collage being created for? Will it stand on its own right or is it being created to sell as prints?
The Thinking Behind Creating A Collage
Wooden Door Collage
Occasionally the option/opportunity of a collage becomes apparent after a period of time. For example, my ‘Italian Wooden Doors Collage’. Every time I visit a new Italian town or village on a shoot I look out for interesting doors and doorways. After a while, a little collection of doors had developed. It was an artist friend who said to me that I should think about making a collage of some of the images as it would work well.
And it did! The hardest part was selecting the doors to include and deciding which ones would be large and which ones small. I left a space between the images and selected a color from one of the door surrounds to fill it. For me, it is important that an existing color for the border/join is selected from the images in collage so the whole thing is pulled together – unless you are going to use black or white and really outline the images.
Collage of Paciano Images
I had the idea of creating collages of towns and villages in Central Italy that might appeal to tourists who have visited the area. The one above is for my local village, Paciano but I also have one available for Cortona in Tuscany.
Collages for Marketing
Collages are great for marketing as they afford you the opportunity to display several images together for maximum impact. Take, for example this collage of Christmas Card examples.
In another marketing collage I show a selection of dresses with my designs that are available from my RedBubble store. Here you can see that I selected a color from one of the dresses for the edges of the images.
The use of collages as a method of presentation can be overdone but I think used wisely, and with a mind on the likely audience, they can be an effective part of your toolkit.
Originally posted in 2016, this post has been updated and republished on 14 May 2022.
Before you go
My name is Dorothy Berry-Lound an artist and writer. You can find out more about my art and writing at https://dorothyberryloundart.com.
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Thank you for reading!
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