Why Work in Collage?

I have been a collage artist for over a decade now. Besides film, it is the one medium I continually return to without hesitation. I can’t describe my fascination with collage, but believe it has to do with my tendency to focus on the details. Sorting and organizing thousands of images to create a final product reminds me of dumping my gigantic Lego collection out as a kid and spending HOURS searching for the perfect tiny piece.

Sourcing Content is a messy process

When I am looking for media I don’t look for something in particular, I rab everything. I may have something in the back of my head if I should happen across it, but I am not out looking for it exclusively. Once I have collected a pile of media and moved on to making individual collages the process becomes more intentional.

Principally, I am looking to change the meaning of at least one of the elements in the collage. I do this in a few different ways:

  1. By juxtaposing it against something else
  2. By removing key contextual elements to make it ‘generic’
  3. By adding text to support or subvert its message

I aim to transform the original media, ideally, as simply as possible. I look at color, texture, lines. and subject and play with different configurations of the same collage. I look at the media from as many different points of view as possible — much like I did with legos. Sometimes the juxtapositions are obvious, other times it takes well over an hour to decide what to do and how to go about it.

Playing with different media in a new collage.

I find collage an important medium in the 21st century. More than ever before we are bombarded with a constant stream of images from advertisers, politicians, and special interest groups, all begging for attention. When you work in collage you notice trends and patterns in media — things that are telling of who and where a culture is. The massive influx of information makes advertiser’s intentions clearer and opens your eyes to the tactics they use to garner attention. At times these are clever and inventive techniques, but more often than not they are subversive and focus on dividing people into superficial target demographics. Tactics may change, but through the years the messages are the same.

I believe that is what my collage speaks to — the mass homogenization of society at large. When creating collages I am inundated with the feeling that we as humans are nothing more than consumers for an endless array of products. At times, it seems the products have identity and personalities and humans are merely there to consume. I try to turn this idea on it’s head to take advertising and other media and turn it against its original intent.

View and shop D.M. Rosemark’s collages here.

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