Animal Revenge: Marcus Butt’s collage

Marcus Butt of Bristol, UK, was recently featured in Wallpaper* magazine, and I was thrilled by his working process and the end result. So much Photoshop work looks so computer-generated, and this method yields a beautiful hand-made look. His process starts with a hand-drawn sketch, which he then scans into Photoshop. Then he “colors” the scans of various textures, paint samples, textiles, and other materials. “The idea is a kind of digital collage” he says in Wallpaper. “I am always looking for non-computer-generated colours, just to give the final finish a less computer-ish feeling.” And of course I love the content of the work: he creates a fluffy, beautiful world of mild-mannered animals holding shotguns. See more work at the artist’s blog.

In the Drawing Room with a Pot of Glue

Lady Filmer (English, 1838–1903) Untitled loose page from the Filmer Album, mid-1860s Collage of watercolor/albumen silver prints; 8 3/4" x 11 1/4"

Who doesn’t love Victorian photocollage? Well I do, anyway. It’s odd and awkward and so strange. This new show at the Met (organized by the Art Institute of Chicago) explores this odd preoccupation of the rich. The Met writes: “Sixty years before the embrace of collage techniques by avant-garde artists of the early twentieth century, aristocratic Victorian women were already experimenting with photocollage. The compositions they made with photographs and watercolors are whimsical and fantastical, combining human heads and animal bodies, placing people into imaginary landscapes, and morphing faces into common household objects.” See more at the Met’s website.

Ray Yoshida’s Talking Collages

URGH! 2003 collage on paper, 6" x 8"

James Jensen has organized a memorial tribute to the Kauai-born artist Ray Yoshida at the Contemporary Museum First Hawaiian and we went last week. May I just say that Yoshida has made some of the most ingenious collages I have ever seen? First, as a Chicago Imagist, he played with fantastical images and, I believe, tried to bridge the gap between Abstract Expressionism and Pop Art. At SAIC, he taught artists who would later become famous in their own right such as Karl Wirsum (I studied with him!), Jim Nutt, and Gladys Nilsson. But it is his late collage work on the second floor that is most impressive. He turns hair into clouds and clothing into mountains. Negative space speaks, and business suits with no heads twist and turn. A must see.