Making each paper mosaic collage is a continuous process of gathering materials, cutting, and pasting. Usually something attracts my attention. This could be a found image or a section from a color photocopy of one of my own photographs. I then paste this down with an acrylic gel medium onto a gessoed masonite support.
All the while, I’ll be rummaging through my collection of old books with reproductions of paintings and photographs, and through files of my own photos, making color photocopies of the ones that seemed useful. For the most part, I don’t look for actual images, but for areas of color, line, texture, and detail.
From these pages, I cut out hundreds of little bits, many as small as an actual brush stroke. These pieces are for my pictures what dabs of paint are for a painting. They are the elements that make up the work and give it its substance.
I glue these pieces onto the support. Nothing is usually sketched out, except for a few perspective lines on the Underground and street scenes. I work best eyeballing it freeform. Once I’m satisfied that a picture is finished, I go back over the top of it with a slightly heavier gel medium. This unifies the surface and adds to the overall texture and luminosity of the finished piece.
As my way of making collages has evolved, I’ve discovered that what I like most about my medium is its almost sculptural aspect, the way the elements of the work can be blended and layered and shaped with scissors, tweezers, and acrylic mediums.
My intention is to create pictures that have the look and feel of paintings, but with the sculptural quality of cut paper work.
I’ve used photocopies in my work for years. My earlier pictures were often filled with bits taken from black and white copies of found images and textures. Later along, I’ve mostly worked with color copies of my own photographs.
Morning Coffee (24 x 18" 1992) was in a travelling exhibition of photocopier art in the spring of 1999.
Artists have used reproductions of source material for collage and related kinds of artwork since long before the common use of photocopiers or computers. One example is Joseph Cornell (1903–1972), who often worked with photostats of images he got from the library.
Artwork images © Ellen Golla
reproduction or distribution without permission prohibited