September is here and school has started again for my grade schoolers, albeit a bit differently than a typical school year. One of the subjects I love helping my 3rd grader with is Language Arts. There, they read stories and answer questions about comprehension to make sure they get the full meaning out of the narrative.
This has me thinking about the idea of telling stories through collage art. Is it possible? How do you tell a story? Is the story fictional or real? Have you ever done that before?
I have told stories in my collages, but most of the time it’s unintentional. Once I have a collage completed, sometimes I can string a story together, based on the random pieces I’ve chosen.
There have been times when I make a deliberate attempt to make a story through collage, like I did with these vintage envelopes. Meet Miss Laura Clark, of Augusta County, Virginia, and Edward White, attorney at law, from St. Louis, MO.
Another method of telling a story with collage is through making a zine. If you don’t know what a zine is, it’s a small booklet made from a single sheet of paper, folded to create pages that turn. Each zine contains a cover, three spreads, and a back. Over the course of those pages, it’s certainly possible to tell a story. I use the term “story” very loosely though. Zine stories don’t have to have a progression from a beginning, middle, and end. Stories can be derived from a single theme that is covered over the pages, but that have no progression. Say you pick the subject cats, for example, and over the pages you illustrate through collage, things that cats do. “I like cats”. “Cats do funny things”. “Cats keep me company”, and so on. It’s not really a story, but you can create an entire zine this way.
Zines by wonderful artists:
Her story by Polly Forde-Johnson
Paper Ephemera by Sharon DeBeck
The Hair Guide in 202o by Monica Lee
Here’s a video explaining more about zines if you’re curious.
Do you have experience with ways to tell a story with collage art? Please do share in the comments. Also, what kinds of themes do you like? Are there collage papers/materials from a certain era that lend themselves to telling stories?
I will be offering an online workshop, working on a project connected to the monthly theme. For the price of a movie ticket ($10) we’ll work together, creating a standalone collage-art project, over the course of 60 to 90 minutes. The class is located inside of the Collage Art Collective. Once you sign up, you will get access to the circle that contains an article and ideas for gathering papers, so that you come to class prepared.
The class will be offered twice a month at different times of the day, to accommodate people at different time zones.
The online workshop for September is telling a story, using the format of a zine. We’re going to be making one in class. I’ll tell you a little secret about the upcoming swap in October: it’s going to be zines!