Alexandra Sheldon

Class #5 Collage/Winter

Alexandra SheldonComment

We started with an exercise in the small sketchbooks: take a piece of your painted paper and collage it down. Look thru magazines or books to find imagery to put in. Starting with your own papers is important because you are beginning with something that belongs to you. Mass media and printed material have a power and can dominate. I like to try to find stuff that flows into what I have started. See if you can take over the mass media stuff and integrate in into your material made from scratch (painted papers, prints, trace monotypes, drawings, etc).

I talked about Frank Stella and his quest for figuring out shape and shapes interlocking and puzzle piecing together. Try making small thumbnail drawings: over and over again draw a rough box and draw two or three shapes dancing together. The shapes can interlock or avoid each other. They can be in conversation or mute. Make some quick collages based on these simple sketches. ( I have been told that if you did these drawings daily that they would eventually begin to reflect the different types of  dynamics in your life).
Exercise: Do a drawing of many shapes together and then take a detail of your drawing and blow up the proportions and do a collage based on this simplification. In my experience we usually make about five compositions in one piece. See if you can play with simplifying simplifying simplifying. 
When making a collage try taking a detail of it with your phone. Often I realize that I’ve gotten too complex in my composition when I do this. 

I talked a lot about the importance of keeping a collage sketchbook. Sketchbooks in general are meant to be places of exploration and ideas. Allow yourself to make collages with a glue stick while traveling or waiting. Maybe at your kitchen table. Play with different materials and be open to doodling, grabbing images and making collages that are not necessarily meant for display but rather as a place to experiment and have fun. Lately I have felt liberated by collaging on vacation and using the limited materials at hand like a hotel flier, a museum ticket or something I found along the way. Limitations can be so freeing. 

Lately I have noticed a tendency in myself to be so serious as an artist. Yet I became an artist because it was so fun! So I’m going back to having fun and I do that by having a sketchbook where ANYTHING GOES.