F302i SESSION 02

Tuesday, 21 April 2020


__ learn about ways collage has been used by other artists
__ learn a bit of the history of collage
__ create a collage translation of your favorite artwork
__ develop skills and confidence with collage

Bearden’s Musée Imaginaire, by Sarah Kennel

now that we have collected materials and played around a bit with them, we are going to look back at some of the greats — your favorites — and translate their work into collage. select a piece from any artist you love. any piece that really moves you (maybe for the sake of this assignment, pick something that is not already collage). it should be a piece that you can come back to time and time again. one that feeds your mind, body and soul. search books, magazines, the interwebs, films/documentaries — whatever you have handy. once you’ve selected the work you want to work from, keep it close by. print it if possible… or save it on your device for easy referencing. make it your desktop image. look at it again and again. try to familiarize yourself with it. as you stare, start trying to break down the shapes and consider how you might build your collage. spend some time contemplating this in your sketchbook.

next, attempt to figure out the ratio of the piece as best you can. make your substrate as close to this ratio as possible. once your surface is set, you will want to think again about how the piece will be “built” — and how you might consider layering pieces to build your translation. refer to your notes. write more notes. most likely you’ll want to start with the background, but there may be good reasons why that isn’t so.

also, you’ll want to consider the dimensionality of the piece. collage is a relief of sorts. one of minute structure — made slightly deeper with cardboard or more dimensional materials — but a subtle relief none-the-less. though not necessary, think about how you might build structure into your piece. no matter how you start, you want to remain as dedicated to the original source image as you can. that said, remember you are translating the medium, not simply doing a straight transcription (with similar media) so there will be quite a bit of room to play and experiment. have fun with it. play with color, texture and edge (tearing vs cutting) all while being true to the source image.

as with last lesson, play without gluing first. arrange and rearrange and arrange again. take photos of your process if you’d like. they will be nice to go back to for reference.

once you are happy with your composition and layout, finish the piece by adhering everything down to the substrate.

post your image in the classroom and tell us a bit about your journey. also, feel free to post a few in-process images if it makes sense to. all work must be submitted by thursday @ 12noon (nyc time) and all students must check back and comment on at least one other student’s work by 2p (nyc time).


  • j o h n r o s: i am really happy to see things moving along... everyone is really...
  • jodi hays: Hey all! I love seeing your translations! I also enjoyed the Bearden...
  • charlie levine: @John - thank you so much again for your thoughtful feedback and...
Join the discussion »
Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Most recent
Inline Feedbacks
View Discussion
j o h n r o s
21 April 2020 8:53am

to get you rolling i am sharing a group of collages i did back in 2000 inspired by other artists’ works. based on the above assignment, i would call these studies and not finished pieces, but these helped move my collage work to new spaces in the early aughts. these are for reference only. i would like a more realize translation in your collages — they should be a more noticeable reference to the original.

alberto giacometti, the artist’s mother, 1950

jacob lawrence, the migration series panel no. 43, 1940-41

larry rivers, Lions on the Dreyfus Fund III, 1964

jodi hays
jodi hays
22 April 2020 7:24am

Excited to start. John I am so glad you posted the Jacob Lawrence migration series work. They were all over the Whitney and Met the last time I got to NY in February, and I am always floored by them. I love the clarity in your translations/studies. Off I go!

jodi hays
jodi hays
22 April 2020 9:08am

Not sure I am in love with this-a good challenge for sure. I focused on the hands and heads and used some old paintings i cut up. perhaps less linen and a clear color could bring more cohesion? I am following Pontormo’s Deposition.

charlie levine
23 April 2020 8:23am

I have always really loved collage especially photographers who have used it historically. I remember the Shape of Light show at Tate had a really great collection of photographers who used collage somehow in their work represented. https://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/exhibition/shape-light

Images below are some favourites: Maholy-Nagy, Barbara Kasten, Hayley Lock & Elizabeth Zvonar (not pictured)
Links http://barbarakasten.net/ https://www.hayleylock.org/ https://www.elizabethzvonar.com/

Screen Shot 2020-04-23 at 13.18.56.png
charlie levine
23 April 2020 8:53am

Here are my three collages for this week. I am having a massive Louise Lawler moment right now (she’s my fav artist of all time I think) and Maholy Nagy after looking back at the Tate show so here are my three collages inspired by them – specifically the dots from Maholy-Nagy, also thinking Lichtenstein and the great Vicky Cull Diana series > http://vickycull.blogspot.com/2010/05/diana.html and a little of Tom Butler’s cabinet card series too > http://www.tombutlerstudio.com/cabinet-cards

Also decided to give the digital a go, thinking about how else you can collage as inspired by the previous sessions sewing and painting, so these are digital collages rather than physical ones.

digital collage 1.jpg
digital collage 2.png
digital collage 3.png
emma davis
23 April 2020 11:32am

Hi all I love the JR 2000 collages – I wish I had more coloured card (or is that an excuse/procrastination?)
I love all the Russian collages you’ve mentioned – so witty and so of a time and prefiguring some of the commentary of pop (Richard Hamilton – What makes modern life so…
… and maybe some of the work of early David Hockney like Flight into Italy https://thedavidhockneyfoundation.org/artwork/3586
Weirdly it’s making me think of painters.
So I looked at Hodgkin, totally instinctively, who does portraits without the usual signifiers
My collage is very primary school but I quite liked the process

emma davis
23 April 2020 11:33am

Here is mine

emma davis
23 April 2020 11:36am

Charlie you have such a gift like a graphic artist’s advertising wizardry. Very smart and clever and persuasive. A nice sense of series – and yellow again!!
Jodi i really like the rough hewn quality which you had before in your last collages – cut out boldly without too much OCD. Slightly impatient. Great Subtle colours.

j o h n r o s
23 April 2020 6:05pm

good session. glad you all seem to be extending things a bit… looking… finding… layering. please listen to the attached audio notes for the session. collage presentation coming tomorrow! i could not figure out loom on my linux machine… so you have me talking, but you don’t get to see me… 🙁


enjoy the new session!! and as always, let me know if you have any questions.

charlie levine
24 April 2020 2:57am

@John – thank you so much again for your thoughtful feedback and yes – light! of course, you say it and it’s obvious.

@emma – I’m loving the painted frame, as a curator I’ve always liked how people ‘frame’ work and the literal painted frame adds such a depth to the piece. It becomes less frame, more a container that the work creeps out from and agree with John, would like to see more of this. (and yes yellow – maybe it’s my desk seeping into my subconscious…. 🙂 )

@jodi – what a challenge to do something so figurative and the head cut out in the solid central piece is genius, so subtle but so well translated of a figure being there – though not. And I like the blank brown figure in the foreground, it adds a sense of drama, who are they – what are they doing etc?

I enjoyed this session of re-approaching a historic piece in collage, was really fun!

jodi hays
jodi hays
24 April 2020 7:45am

Hey all! I love seeing your translations! I also enjoyed the Bearden essay, John. Thank you! hi abstracts show has been some of the best work I have seen in a decade. http://www.dcmooregallery.com/artists/romare-bearden

I love your digital collage inclusion, Charlie. And thanks for the links as well.

Emma, i like (perhaps the nod to hockney) your painterly work alongside the “pure” collage. lovely.

j o h n r o s
24 April 2020 5:38pm

i am really happy to see things moving along… everyone is really taking on assignments and applying it to your interests, connections, practices. i think the point of a workshop! so thank you all! two more exercises then a chat next friday.

please sign up: