All of my collages are handmade, using paper, scissors, and glue. I am constantly on the lookout for raw material, such old books salvaged from the trash. Looking for material, categorizing it, and choosing pictures is just as important to me as cutting out and combining the pictures in a collage.
“For many artists, the search for ideal images and the process of cutting – guiding the scissors, deliberately cutting out images or fragments from their original context – is the true creative process, and it cannot be replaced by working at a computer.”
– S. Krohn in ‘The Age of Collage’ (2013)
Do you use photoshop to make your collages?
No, I only use a computer to scan the finished collages.
Wouldn’t making the collages on the computer give you more freedom and possibilities?
It would, and that’s exactly why I don’t do it. I like working with the physical boundaries of the found material. Also, I enjoy working with my hands more than using a mouse and staring at a screen. Not to mention that I’m much more skilled with scissors than photoshop.
Why don’t you look for pictures online and print them out?
The possibility of using every picture on the internet, printing it as often as I want, in every possible size, actually makes me anxious. I wouldn’t get anything done because I wouldn’t be able to decide which pictures to use. Working only with found physical material takes this decision away from me, which I find very calming.
Where do you get the pictures/raw material from?
Mainly from old books. I especially like to get them from “for free” boxes in the street, from public bookcases, or from the second hand store of the local waste disposal company. Occasionally I use scrapbooking paper with basic patterns as a background.
How do you find the pictures you need in your material collection?
When I find a promising book or magazine I roughly cut out the interesting pictures and sort them in a hanging filing system with main categories (e.g. plants, landscapes) and subcategories (e.g. trees, flowers; sky, water, land). Keeping this system in order is something I actually enjoy doing.
How long does it take you to make a collage?
If you only count cutting and pasting: sometimes a couple of minutes, sometimes a couple of hours, spread over days or weeks. But for me the process begins already with looking for raw material and filing it in my material collection.
How long have you been making collages?
On a regular basis since 2011. But the underlying idea of creatively repurposing found material is something that has accompanied me for much longer. I already made art from discarded paper scraps when I was a preschooler.
How can you be so patient and not get frustrated with cutting out tiny pieces?
Actually, it relaxes me a lot. I’ve always liked fiddly manual work.
Which tools do you use to cut out pictures?
Mostly I use tiny scissors (straight skin scissors with a tower tip). I don’t like working with a scalpel/knife.
What kind of glue to you use?
I use Fixogum, a nonpermanent liquid glue that can be rubbed off. It’s similar to rubber cement.