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Wednesday, 1 April 2015

April Week One: Collage People

I know that some of you are going to have a really strong reaction to this month's Roadtrip (maybe thinking: No Way!). The idea of creating a self portrait is confronting to many people (I know this because I am one of those people). But before you abandon the journey altogether let me point out two things:
  • A self portrait is meant to REPRESENT you, or a part of your self. It does not have to look anything like you.
  • You do not have to show ANY of your artwork to anyone if you don't want to. The reason that we looked at pocket pages and inclusions before the self portraits is so you can hide your art in your journal if you choose to. You can also cut up any drawings or painting you don't like and use it as collage.
The exquisite Frida Kahlo is my heroine when it comes to self portraits. Frida had polio as a child, and was in a near-fatal bus accident as a teenager. She suffered fractures to her spine, collarbone, ribs, pelvis, and foot and dislocated a shoulder; she was often unable to get out of bed due to the pain. She started painting when she was in a full body cast and she said "my painting carries with it the message of pain". But even though her paintings are filled with examples of the physical pain she was in, she always painted herself looking forward, meeting the viewer's eyes. To me, this is Frida's way of communicating that her spirit remained strong, even if her body was broken.

The Two Fridas by Frida Kahlo, 1939

The Broken Column by Frida Kahlo, 1944
While Frida always represented herself in the same way, other artists don't. As an example, these are all self-portraits by the same artist, Bryan Lewis Saunders:

Bryan created each portrait while under the influence of a different mind-altering substances (some legal, some not). I am definitely NOT recommending this approach to self portraits! But I find the different views of the self represented in this series very interesting.

In Art Therapy, self portraits are often used to treat self esteem and trauma issues, so what comes out can be very personal, complex and confronting. If you are interested in this topic, I recommend this article:


Now, before you all freak out completely, you don't have to draw anything! What we are going to look at this week is a collage technique using magazine pictures. The artist that I most associate with this style is Teesha Moore:

This Playlist show's Teesha's process from the beginning where she paints the background to the end, where she adds pen and journalling:

The playlist contains 11 videos in total, most between 5 and 8 minutes long.
If you don't have time to watch all 11 videos, just watch these four:

  • If you are not a magazine reader, or like me have gone to digital publications, ask your family and friends for any old magazines they don't need anymore or look to thrift stores and recycling centres.
  • I was able to pick up a big pile of high-end fashion magazines from my local Salvation Army Op-Shop for 20c each; which will keep me in collage heaven for a long long time.
  • I like a glue stick for the adhesive (Bostik is my preferred brand). I wouldn't recommend using a wet glue as magazine pages are thin and do not respond well (they wrinkle easily).
  • Teesha uses Pan Pastels to shade around her collage, which are beautiful, but ridiculously expensive. Use any pastel that you have. You can try applying it with a sponge or draw it on then smudge it in with your finger.Oil pastel will work just as well as chalk. Try charcoal or graphite pencil as well. Use what you have!

I hope you have fun creating your collage self-portraits. If you are blogging your Journal Journey, leave me a link in the comments section so I can check it out!
You can also share on the Facebook Driver Reviver Group.

For more inspiration, check out this month's Pinterest board, and YouTube Playlist.

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