you are here [x]: Scarlet Star Studios > the Scarlet Letters > micro-collages
<< before paintings from december
after >> the appeal of comedy and horror

April 1, 2009


by sven at 7:00 am

micro-collage #1

I've developed a new collage form: micro-collages.

Here's how it works: Go online and use Google Images searches, Flickr, National Geographic's website, etc.… Collect lots and lots of images. Collect ones that appeal to you for whatever reason, based on gut instinct -- try to avoid searching for images based on preconception (e.g. "I need a picture of a tree here"). If you have a Mac, you can use "Preview" to print out 16 images per page, each the size of a postage stamp.

Most collage methods have you overlapping images… You could do that here, but because the pictures are so small, I found I wanted space between them so they remained legible. Even so, the juxtapositions created by putting images next to one another are plain.


Why this method?

a) to conserve space
When I took Sara Swink's Two Day Creative Process Workshop back in January, I decided to push my own limits and try making a "mega-collage." Rather than fill up the rectangle of a blank page, I just started in the middle and worked my way outward. The 6'x4' monstrosity that resulted is far richer with imagery than most collages I've done -- but there's no good way to store it. By using 1"x1" images to start with, I can put the same amount of visual information into a normal sketchbook spread.

micro-collage #2

b) to use the internet as an image resource
People who do collaging regularly tend to have stacks and stacks of magazines… But the good stuff starts getting thinned out over time. I figured there must be a way to make use of the internet to find new material. It's a little tricky to get truly random images via Google. I tried using random word generators to help with this; also just doing searches based on words that popped to mind. Flicker, I found, has better randomizing applications -- it's easy to surf from collection to collection.

A side benefit of doing image collection digitally: you get to keep your original image files and use them again in future collages if you find something you really like.

micro-collage #3

c) juxtapositions are the spark of creativity
It's hard to think of an original idea off the top of your head. Visual prompts really help get the juices flowing. What's more, when you you have a large selection of random materials to work with, you just can't help but make highly personal discoveries. It's like tarot cards: you start reading your own psyche into the unexpected juxtapositions.

Personally, I've found that this method is fantastic for helping me generate story ideas for playwriting and fiction. I wrote the play "The Astronaut & The Nude" based on micro-collage #1. Proof of concept. I'm eager to do more writing based on the other two pieces.

posted by sven | April 1, 2009 7:00 AM | categories: other art, sketchbook