I’ve put together this list of collage artists to give you an overview of who you could use in the classroom with your students. There are some old favourites here and hopefully some new ones too. Click on any image to go to a google search or the artist’s website.
You can’t talk about collage artists without mentioning Kurt Schwitters as he is considered to be ‘The King of Collage’. Schwitters is credited with being the first to do it. However, others argue that Picasso did it first! Schwitters collected his materials from the streets of Berlin. I once did a successful Schwitters inspired project and littered the classroom floor with bits for students to pick up. It was a great start to the lesson.
Below is the work of artist Fred Tomaselli. I’m not sure why he’s referred to as a painter as a majority of the bits you see are collaged on. Working on wood he collages medicinal herbs, prescription pills and hallucinogenic plants alongside images cut from books and magazines: flowers, birds, butterflies, arms, legs and noses. He then covers this with a thick, clear layer of epoxy resin. I’ve used this with students where they have collaged on a dark painted surface (artists black, never true black!) and then covered their collage with a layer of PVA glue.
I’ve found that the disturbing collages of Annegret Soltau have really appealed to my students. They’ve enjoyed photographing themselves, collaging and combining it with stitch. There is huge potential for them to draw sections too.
Ben Giles has all sorts of collages on his website. He is a great opportunity if students wish to combine collage with their own photographs. They often seem to have a surreal or dream-like quality to them.
David Adey pins his collage onto foam panels. Many of his artworks are ‘human form’ or ‘bits of human’, and by that I mean lips or legs that make elaborate patterns. Shapes and images are hidden within the human form.
Derek Gores is a master of collage and a recycling artist. He recycles magazines, labels, data, and assorted found analog and digital materials to create the works on canvas. I’d only recommend this to a really able student as it’s far more difficult than it looks. Check out his inspiring website.
The artist below, Dolan Geiman, is new to me and I stumbled upon him when researching for this blog post. His paper collages would be ideal for a ‘different cultures’ project. They have a powerful feel as the subject stares back at you! He does ‘faux taxidermy’ too. Check out his site by clicking the image below.
Hannah Hoch probably should have come earlier in the post as she is one of the greats. She was a German Dada artist. She is best known for her work of the Weimar period, when she was one of the originators of photomontage. How does her work look both contemporary and retro at the same time?
Jason Mecier has created a series of collages of celebrities. He has created many out of candy, calling it ‘Candy Art’ I like the artworks where the materials he uses reflects the person portrayed, like Amy Winehouse below, made of pills. He has done Joan Rivers out of beauty products and medicines, and Hugh Hefner out of Playboy magazines, and many more.
The amazing letter ‘A’ which looks like a building made out of windows, in one of four (A- D) created by Lola Dupre. She has other collages made of repeated images on her website too, where she often distorts the human form. She states on her website that her work references the Dada movement of the early 20th Century and the digital manipulations of the present day.
Mark Wagner is my final featured artist. You can see he makes collages out of dollar bills. He creates ‘Currency Portraits’ and other collage work. He has a great video on his website if you look under ‘Process Video’. Be warned before you suggest a student uses this artist as it is illegal to reproduce money and monopoly money would be a poor substitute!
If you are an art teacher and you want a collage project for your students, you will love the great selection you can find by clicking the image below.
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