GorillasInTheRoses: A Zine of Zine Covers

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At our last collaging session with James, we set ourselves a collaging brief – to create a cover for the Gorillas In The Roses zine of covers, which James suggested earlier this term, and to which we excitedly agreed. After giving it about two hours of intense work, we all came up with our different versions of what Gorillas In The Roses is, how we see it, what it means to us as a module or mmaybe literally, etc.

On the left: my GITR cover

We were, for the first time, working under a set brief. I’m not going to lie, I found it a bit stressful, but then again, there’s no inspiration like the deadline. Haha! We had to consider the size – the print was going to be size A5, so be careful about details too small. The other thing we had to be wary of was the fact it was going to be printed in black and white and any bright colour would be lost. Having all that in mind we all ended up handing in with very interesting outcomes. Everyone signed their names on a page that James made himself and then we were ready to go.

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This week after the end of our assessment session, we each got a copu of the finished zine. I love how it turned out, as simple and strange as it is, it perfectly reflected Gorillas In The Roses and it was a zine, a little publication, that I contributed my collage artwork to, along with all my friends – you can see why I was so happy to have a copy  :)

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Above: GITR Zine Cover | Credit Page by J Green
Below: Inside Cover | Page 1 Cover

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I think it is fairly easy to notice, eve just from the first two images (and the cover), that the zine is filled with various aproaches to collaging. From minimalistic to elaborately detailed, from hand drawn to photographic, literal to abstract… all bearing our personal artistic touch and views and ideas.

This zine was a success, there should definitely be more of those, on all sorts of subjects, that’d be quite interesting…

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Book of Nature

This book, combines in itself the idea of nature, wild and raw and beautiful as it is, with human nature, which ultimately leads to the questions of our existence and the cosmos itself.

This book is a concertina (12 x 12 cm) with several different fold-outs and two pop-ups, as well as a back spread.

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~      c   o   s   m   o   s    ~ (back spread, 12 x 48 cm)

This book goes hand to hand with M!nd States.
Note: there are more pages in the book itself which I haven’t included in this post.

M!nd States

As you sit down and you look at the collection of old magazines, comic book issues, and all kinds of scraps and papers and pictures, all about to be cut up, rearranged and stuck together on a page in a sketchbook or a random sheet of paper, you can’t help but notice a little sadness amidst your excitement and delight – sadness about the ‘destruction’ of other people’s works because of a specific detail which we use for our own imagery. This ultimately makes you think about the kind of world we live in, the nature of humanity and the beauty of balance – to create you need first destroy – like the phoenix, which dies in fire and is reborn from the ashes. Collaging becomes this act of creation via cutting, tearing and trimming.

At the same time it gives life to all the scraps and the bits and the little papers that we come across each day – the receipts, the tickets, the leaflets, the wrappers… they are given purpose when they have none and they are made interesting when they usually wouldn’t be. What is by some considered trash becomes a gold mine for those who know what to look for.

Collaging in itself can be a deeply personal experience, which opens you up to how your own mind works – how you see things and how they subconsciously rearrange themselves inside your head; the outcomes become the reflections of ideas, thoughts and mind states. Collages are weird in nature; they are nonsensical, shocking and/or simply strange but that gives you the freedom to see just how far you can go before you get completely lost and confused and disgusted by your own artwork.

The following pages of this book are filled with the outcomes of my own exploration of that uncharted mind space – trying to make some sense out of things that at a first glance make none.

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happy new year
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parallel progression
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dreaming
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daydreaming
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‘how do you feel?’
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(after) g l o w
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me (you)
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jkcddda\\:”{w6uo/4 v3q50-]r oj”dX,XC.ZS BL!!!!!!!!!!!! (frustration), Collaging + Painting Performance
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s . o . s
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~   everything   ~

~~~—– 10 / 25 artworks from the book (all images in M!nd States were selected out of a larger body of work done in the last 5 weeks  —–~~~

Final Outcomes

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My final ‘pieces’ for our Gorillas in the Roses field module this term.

I made the two books from scratch – binding, stitching and, of course, the collages inside. I decided to go all out for the formative assessment this module as soon before I got the feedback from my Subject term 1 assessment. Amelia (Johnstone) mentioned that I haven;’t really been completing my artwork to the fullest extent in a sense of – weak in context and because of that unable to finalize whatever I produce. (I’m being quite vague because the examples wouldn’t apply in this case) At the very beginning of this field project James explained to us that with collaging we don’t need to make perfect sense, in fact, we don’t need to make sense at all. What he wanted us to focus on was exploration. In a way, whatever we come up with will add to the final body of work that was expected of us by the end of the 5 weeks.

These two books are a product of the absolute chaos and order of my mind. My process was quite simple, go through all the imagery (scan it) and then cut out what I like and what I feel might be useful (without actually specifying what for). Then I try to look for more in the same way, but with that first cut-out in mind – what would fit, what would work well with that? I do that until the collected bits start interacting with each other – they start revealing narratives, settings, composition challenges and specific colour schematics which ultimately lead to the image in my mind’s eye that I need to arrange down on the page. The entire process happens almost subconsciously, the only way I am now able to talk about it is because during the first few sessions, James (Green) and Tom (Martin) were asking us about our process, do we work in any specific order or just randomly putting stuff together, and I wasn’t sure how to answer at the time, the question was just as confusing as the collaging I was doing.

What I was really doing was spiraling in and letting go, going as crazy as it suited me. I felt like I was in a completely stress-free environment, no pressure of working on a brief, no outlines our work needed to fit in, just free to do whatever. And that was like a tap of creativity pouring down a well of inspiration. I find collaging entrancing, meditative, inspiring and sometimes frightening – whatever comes out on the page, is the product of my own imagination so obviously the more twisted the outcome, the more I question my own sanity.

In that sense, these two books are a sort of revelation, a reflection of how my mind works in various states and situations. Whether sleepy or hyped up, at uni, at home, after a night out, after having lots of food, when I haven’t really eaten all day; whether sad or happy or bored… the results always fit with my mood, without fail.

Mind States, album book
size: A3 (29.7 x 42 cm)
contents: 25 collaged pages

nature, human nature, cosmic nature, concertina book
size: 12 x 12 cm
contents: single-page collages, collage spreads and pop-ups

Here you can see a short preview of what is actually inside. :)

The footage for this clip was quite plain and  I thought I might spruce it up a bit on Magisto, an app I’ve had on my phone for ages but never really used before. How it works is, you select the videos you want in your short clip, choose an effect setting, a style, and then either choose a soundtrack from the app library or add your own music from your device. Could not be more simple – you don’t do ANY of the editing and you still end up with a decent little video. One of its effect settings (Rock On) just seemed perfect for my idea, as it was using stop motion collage frames and transitions which fits perfectly with our field module. The only feature I didn’t fully agree with was the black and white bits as the use of colour is quite an important feature, although after seeing it a few more times I realised that it actually works quite well – in order to inspire interest, you don’t show everything straight away, do you… The song I used is from the soundtrack of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (“Garbage Truck” by Sex Bob-Omb), it is one of my favourite films based on a comic book (story & artwork by Bryan Lee O’Malley). I thought it’d be quite fitting for a few reasons, like the grungy footage, and the fact that we’ve been working with and looking into comic books during most of this module.

Digital Collaging

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strange combinations in strange colours
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dark sides (was inspired by Kenneth HaliwellJoe Orton’s work in Malicious Damage)

We had a workshop with James on digital collaging (on iPads provided from uni), using an app called Procreate. It was quite basic but that is essentially all you need to start making the collages you want. I didn’t have any specific ideas when I made those, I just wanted to try out different combinations and techniques and generally see how things work.

Definition of my Reality

We got a task to work on a collaged piece depicting our reality. We were given complete freedom for our final outcome and we were advised to check what the Platonic solids were and how they were connected to Leonardo da Vinci.

I could not have been more thrilled. The research I did re-empowered my admiration for the connections between art, science and spirituality. I was once more reassured of the importance of knowledge and the need for deep philosophical conversations and discussion.

When I started thinking about ‘my reality’ I made a little list of words. Chaotic, mind-blowing, beautiful, rushing, lone… but then I realized this was a conscious illusion, the words were coming from a very shallow place in my being. They were my reality but they were just aspects of the whole.

What I came up with is a piece which somehow actually manages to describe my reality and, at the same time, capture universal truths and knowledge, as well as referencing ideas as old as time.

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This is my personal final piece.

We each got to ‘present’ our pieces to the rest of our group without saying a word about it, and letting everyone else speak up and tell us what they see, what they understand and what they can interpret, and then see if it matches our own original idea.

It’s strange how I can’t bring myself to write about this piece now; it has become a sort-of milestone of my own personal development, evidence of a moment/period of pure, complete self-awareness and analysis.

Combining Images

While filling up my sketchbook with images I had the idea of combining them to create a single piece. A sort of artistic mashup.

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So this here is the weird, repetitious, abstract cityscape with loads of straight lines, just like the images above suggest.

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The next couple of images were chosen randomly but then arranged to create a feeling of a concealed, unknown narrative.

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In this piece I combined elements from each image but this time I mixed that with a bit of colour and different media.

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These images sort of fit together on their own when I was glueing them to the page and in the end I decided to leave them as they are because the result is a simplistic collage which inspires different thoughts with every new look.

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Experimenting with combinations of existing images has been quite fun and I will definitely do more of that in my Research & Ideas sketchbook.