Sunday, December 12, 2010

Q & A: Collage Art

Brown Bear by collage artist Megan Coyle

Tell me about your collage technique.

Each collage starts out as a sketch. This helps me get an idea of the proportions of the subject and get the likeness down properly. I’ve noticed that if I don’t do a good job with the sketch; chances are I’ll have a hard time getting the collage to look right.

Next I work on cutting and pasting paper onto the sketched composition. I’ll page through a number of magazines, tearing out pages that have solid colors or textures that I may want to use. Then I start cutting out strips of paper based on the shapes of shadows and highlights that make up different areas of the background or subject. I’m able to recreate the look and feel of a painting by working with fragments and shapes of magazine strips – these pieces of paper act like the distinct brushstrokes in a painting. As I work, I think of areas where I could weave in fragments of photographs in order to create moments of interest and texture.

A Piece of the Ocean by collage artist Megan Coyle

How do you know when a collage is complete?
Often times I don’t feel a collage is entirely complete. You just reach a point where you feel it’s time to stop. Other times I know a collage is complete when I’ve set it aside for a couple of days, returned to it and think that there’s nothing more I can do to improve it – it’s resolved, finished.

Kitty in the City by collage artist Megan Coyle

What challenges have you found in your work?
Since I work with colors and textures that are found in magazines, there’s always the challenge of finding the right colors that will work well with a given collage. Sometimes it will take a while of hunting through magazines – just feverishly turning pages until I find the right color or pattern that I can use in a piece.

How has the Internet helped you promote your work?
It has helped me a lot. If it wasn’t for the Internet, it would be more difficult for potential clients to contact me. Although having solo exhibitions and giving lectures helps a great deal with getting exposure, if it wasn’t for the Internet, people who have seen my work in exhibits wouldn’t have a way to find out more about me. The Internet has also made it a lot easier to sell artwork and prints, and allows others to contact me directly.

Birdy by collage artist Megan Coyle

What’s your greatest ambition?
My greatest ambition is to take my technique to new heights. For instance, I’d really like to incorporate video and animation with my work – I just need to give myself enough time so I’ll have a chance to dive in and work on it.

What are you working on at the moment?
I’m currently working on a dog portrait that I was commissioned to do – my client is going to give the portrait to his wife as a Christmas present. I recently completed another portrait that is also going to be given as a holiday gift.

Aside from commission work, I’ve been working on editing the plot of my children’s book and sketching out illustrations that I will collage in the future.

Morning Coffee by collage artist Megan Coyle

What are you trying to do with your art?
I’m trying to make my viewers question traditional ideas of what makes a painting a painting and a collage a collage by merging these two different mediums together. My collages are meant to be like an illusion - making viewers think they're made from paint when they're actually made from magazine strips. I like having my viewers question the materials of my work. I like it when they mistake them as paintings, because once I tell them they're made from magazines, they look at the work in a new light. There’s also an urge to get closer to the collages to really study the handy work that went into creating them. I like this interaction of the viewer getting closer to take a better look.

Tabby Cat by collage artist Megan Coyle

What is your favorite subject to collage?
Portraits of people are by far my favorite subject to collage. I love all the details that make each person entirely unique and different than the next one. I also like how expressive the human face is as well as how people can tell us a story with their body movement and interaction with the environment around them. I’m really drawn to narrative scenes, and the human form works well with telling us a story.

I also like making portraits of animals. Animals can be such characters as well – I love how colorful different species are. Animals also work well with creating narrative scenes, which are my absolute favorite type of scene to construct.

How would you like to improve as an artist?
I would like to improve by finding more ways of presenting my work – by incorporating my technique and style with different mediums. I’m especially interested in getting better at working with animation. I have a feeling that animation would be a wonderful tool to use to create more dynamic artwork – artwork in motion.

6 comments:

Beth Niquette said...

OOOoooh, GASP! These are incredible, Megan!

Did you know someone thanked me for featuring you on FAT Tuesday?!

You are just amazing. I'm so honored to know you, young lady!

I loved reading your blog today. Thank you so much for sharing yourself and your wonderful artwork with the world.

I mean that--your artistry fills my eyes.

Sarah said...

It's great hearing more about you!

cindy said...

fabulous and informative interview, megan!

Peggy Stermer-Cox said...

Hi Megan, Interesting Q&A! That you think of your collage pieces as being like brush strokes is evident. I had a similar thought when I first saw your pieces. I also think it enlightening that you start from a drawing. The results are wonderful and unique. Exciting you're working with animating your work; cool birdy!

justdoodleit said...

Congrats on the nice interview!
Happy Holidays :)

Bella Sinclair said...

Wonderful interview! I always find your technique and your art very fascinating. Animation would be COOL!