At the age of eleven I was making collages like it was nobody’s business. And it wasn’t: it was a secret and precious activity I devoted hours to, and it was for no one but me. I’d collect magazines like Girlfriend, In Style, Dolly and Empire, and scour the Arts & Entertainment sections of my mother’s newspapers for any Lord-Of-The-Rings-related content. I’d carefully cut out pictures of Avril Lavigne, Elijah Wood, Nelly Furtado, Layne Beachley, and bold text like ‘HOT’ ‘ULTIMATE’ and ‘NEW YORK’. I’d let these collections and clippings pile in old shoeboxes, heightening in value, before sorting through them. I’d glue the different words and images onto bright, coloured cardboard in a way that made me feel powerful and adoring. I’d decorate the collages with glitter and sometimes add my own scribbled stars, hearts and wishes. They would then adorn my walls for a month or so, before the next series replaced them.
Collage was (and still is) for me a personal act that brings to life different parts of me; I am part fan-girl, part artist, part witch. It’s this daggy and deeply pleasurable experience of perusing different media, be it trashy or artsy, and picking out what I want like fleas from a cat. I get to decide how I want a piece to feel, and use it to express who and what I love or admire. I find the act of arranging, rearranging and assembling these chosen items satisfying and chaotically meditative.
When I recently discovered a plethora of established and emerging artists creating works of collage on–where else?–Instagram, I was surprised and amused that collage itself had never occurred to me as an art-form. It was just something I did that sometimes led me to make other things and sometimes didn’t. I hadn’t thought of the form as a wider movement or considered how others were playing with it. But I can see a value in collage as it’s own thing. I also appreciate it having many manifestations, and how it can serve to explore crafts(wo)manship, pop culture and art history. I’m discovering that collage is almost as fun to look at as it is to make.
Here’s a list of collage artists I enjoy following on instagram. Also worth checking out is the Sydney Collage Society for more local artists in this genre.
Katie Dutch is an artist from Sydney, Australia. She makes collages from vintage cut outs using scissors, glue, paint & pens. Her stunning and whimsical works portray iconic women from Frida Kahlo to Anna Nicole Smith, celebrating their power and beauty in a striking fashion. Her other account @for_ever_free houses her video projects and more experimental work.
Alex Nuñez is a Cuban-American mixed media painter from Miami, FL.
Her paintings often use found image or embellished objects. There is a common thread of music running through her work, best seen in her extensive series of gold-bedazzled album covers from the 1970s and ‘80s. Nuñez says, “I am fascinated to see the various ways that artworks can be affected by what we listen to, and whether that resonates with the viewer in the final piece.” She even has a podcast dedicated to artists and their music-muses, called “Sunday Painter”.
Kitty Callaghan is a Sydney-based collage artist who has been featured in RUSSH, i-D, and ASOS.. Thematically, her work involves the worlds of fashion, art and music while creating a mood entirely its own, where famous faces meet textured, google-earth-style images and dazzling objects of desire.
Alexandra English is a collage artist and writer from Sydney. Viewing her work can evoke a sense of personal nostalgia, where images of the sea, of snow, and of domestic interiors obscure the faces of the people inhabiting these environments. The mixture of warm and icy colours brings to mind the subjects of family, holiday romance, and the feeling of home.
Andrea Lux is a young artist and #girlgaze ambassador who’s use of shape and colour captures my (and instagram’s) heart. I’m especially fond of the way she overlays text in certain works – whether it be curly pink cursive, thin paper cutouts, chalky speech bubbles or squiggles of peach and blue. It is calming and enlivened at once.
Yolanda Dawson is an Australian artist exploring the intersection of fine art, design and personal identity through digital and mixed media. There is something wonderfully still and seductive about the spaces she creates, allowing line, shape, and object to float where they please.
Xochi Solis is an artist based in Austin, TX who also works part-time from a studio in Mexico. Her multilayered, painting-collages are constructed of paint, hand-dyed paper, vinyl, plastics, and images from found books and magazines. Her central process of layering that connects her work becomes a textural meditation on the natural world, forming their own strange and lovely planets.
Insta: @ jennybrownart
Jenny Brown is an artist born in Boston, MA living and working in Providence, Rhode Island. Her mediums include drawing, collage and works on found paper. She illuminates an underworld of sea-life in her work, connecting tentacles, buds, petals and thorns to create sly, dreamlike creatures. There is a sense that these disparate elements want to be connected, and the artist is artfully adhering to their shared wish.
Bethany Van Rijswijk
Welcome to the world of Tasmanian based collage artist and poet Bethany van Rijswijk. The artist’s hand-cut collage practice stems from an ongoing interest in folklore, costume and ritual – and it shows up in her work through a focus on women, myth and poetry. Her work evokes a grown-up Faraway Tree vibe, full of mysticism and yet brimming with simple pleasures. Her work has been aptly described as “a vehicle for glimpsing the sacred within the mundane.”
Emma Dajska (alias) is an artist, graphic designer and illustrator from Poland whose work has been featured in Rookie, LENNY, and Filmme Fatales. She is part of the Ardorous collective and the collage group Collection of the Collections. Her work is wonderfully fanciful, whilst being grounded by its subject matter and/or arrangement. Her bio reads: ‘obsessed with paper since 1992’. ❤