Around 200BC in China, some guy had a spark of brilliance, an idea of creative genius and in doing so discovered an artistic use for colour and shape that had not been envisioned before, the medium or means this took place by is what we now call “COLLAGE”, a term which was later defined by undisputed art heavy weights “Pablo Picasso” and “George Braque”. This form of art meandered its way through the developed feudal societies of Asia, onward through the dark ages, observed by a few mildly attentive crafts people and at times the hobby of women, till the art form was popularized and feverishly thrown upon an unsuspecting public with out time to digest it, head long into the 20th century, through the prolific hands of Picasso and the Surrealist movement that was to follow and most notably the “Colour King” in the twilight of his life “Henri Matisse”, “collage” has indeed found its place in the world art.
Matisse was heavily influenced and inspired by the art, vision and mythological life of the self titled “savage” and self imposed exile “Paul Gauguin”, Matisse would follow in his masters’s foot steps, though in a more conservative passion seek muse in the place of inspiration that Gauguin himself was once drawn to, “TAHITI!”
“Two Tahitian Women” by Paul Gauguin 1895.
In 1930, twenty seven years after the death of Gauguin, at the age of 64 , Matisse’ set foot in the south Pacific, finding a landscape unlike that of Europe, with colour and texture kissed by sun, drowned in the humidity of its verdant elements. Matisse had come face to face with Polynesia and could not perceive his artistic work through the same eyes again!
Days were spent leaning over the edge of his boat, slowly moving over coral, as the sun above flickered upon the water’s surface. Sting rays, sharks and fish swam beneath, such a vision remained engraved in his mind, it ignited a creative source of perception that he could not fight, thus he was unable to do anything else, but to surrender to its charms. And so as an aging and less able man, Matisse became a master, his craft was ultimately to be collage and the south pacific his palette.
Matisse in Tahiti.
“Polynesia” by Henri Matisse
This is not an art history lesson, though there isn’t anything wrong in being schooled in something now and then. I simply wanted to show that every one has their influences, their sources of inspiration, no matter what field one works or finds purpose in? We are the sum total of the ages, in all that we do, say and believe, we are both influenced and influential, we appropriate, borrow, add to, create and revolutionise today with the building blocks of yesterday and to do so without acknowledgement and praise of those that have trod these paths before us, is a life self centered and destined for mediocrity, a life lived as a lie, I think so anyway???
So yeah, i am a collage artist, one of many arrows in my quiver, I love collage, though i wouldn’t of been able to enjoy what i do unless these amigos above did what they did and sought the expression they felt only applicable in the humble medium of “COLLAGE”.
Before i end note here, it would be remiss of me to not honourably mention within the collage elite, in this blogs hall of fame an outstanding collage legend; Romare Bearden ….. awesomeness personfied~!
Here’s some of my collages for your viewing pleasure.
Book cover submissions for Celestine Hitura Vaite trilogy. 2006
Marquesas – Atuona – 2007. M.Lothian.Copyright.
Ke ala i Kahiki ( the way to Tahiti ) Hokulea. 2007.