Collage in Collaboration?

Well here we go. I’ve completed most of the first layer of cutting for The Scout and I’m opening my mind up to all sorts of possibilities. This will be the fourth artwork in the Structured Chaos series which I’m working on in collaboration with Ben Honebone.

Lots of people have asked how we’re managing to work something like this as a collaboration. It’s a valid question since the creating an artwork like this is usually a solitary job. The division of labour is actually quite straightforward. Bone is the photographer and all the images that I am to cut are decided on and provided through him. We then consider and discuss possible avenues as to how the artwork might look as I start the cut. The photography process is a vital step since the image we use needs to be of a high enough standard so that the finished collage is worth viewing. We’ve already considered and rejected many pictures that might work on their own as photographs in a gallery but which aren’t suitable for Structured Chaos.

Once I’ve started cutting then we consult with each other as to how we feel it’s progressing. Discussion is pretty much continuous from start to finish about which layers of cut paper should sit where. Even after a month of cutting and layering we may change our minds about the order and structure of the artwork. With our last creation Quarter Circle Punch, extra cuts were added to the top layer a few days after we both thought we’d finished. Our opinions are equally valid and if one of us is not happy then the artwork is not good enough for release and we sit on it a while until we’ve figured it out. The finished result is never a compromise and is as close to perfect as we feel we need to get it.

Since every assemblage is only fixed with paper fasteners in each corner we always have the option to go back in and change how the artwork looks; even after framing. Bone photographs, I cut, and together we agree on how it should all look.

It’s an exciting way to work and relies a lot on trust and communication. I don’t know anyone else who works creating the work that we make or in the way that we make it. I love it!

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