Friday, January 04, 2008

Mixed-Media Collage: An Exploration of Contemporary Artists, Methods and Materials: Book Review by ChristineMM

Title: Mixed-Media Collage: An Exploration of Contemporary Artists, Methods and Materials
Author: Holly Harrison
Publication: Quarry Books, 2007
Format: softcover book
ISBN: 9781592533169

Book review by ChristineMM

My Rating: 5 stars

Has a Major Focus on the Creative Process and What Inspires the Artists

How I Discovered This Book: While shopping on this book popped up as a recommendation based on other books that I purchased. Later Amazon gave me a gold box discount offer on this book so I bought it for myself with money received for Christmas gift.

After a quick introduction to collage and collage tools, the book is divided into two sections.

Section one features in-depth profiles of five artists. Each artist is interviewed and interesting questions are asked about their creative process, their inspiration and why they choose to use the materials that they do. Multiple pieces of their artwork are shown. One project is featured with stepped-out directions and photos so you can learn their technique.

The five artists profiled and directions for their project are:
1. Laurinda Bedingfield: 3D collage book sculpture with photographs
2. Barbara DePirro: using acrylic gel medium to create the look of encaustic
3. Paula Grasdal: printmaking and collage
4. Sharon McCartney: mixed-media multi-paneled wall hanging
5. Teesha Moore: mixed-media journal page

Section two is a gallery of two pieces of artwork from 20 different contemporary mixed-media artists. The information includes brief technique explanation, inspiration, and a list of supplies used.

The strengths of this book are that there is a great variety of type of artwork represented. This is not a book of fads and trends. It was clear to me that each artist is following their own voice and making their own unique kind of art that they enjoy working with. For this reason I treasure the book, because there are other publications on the market which seem to display the ‘trend of the season’. This book is fresh and unique. Just seeing different types of artwork and seeing these artists using their own inner voices to guide their art (even if I personally didn’t love the look of all of it) made me want to go and make some art.

The book closes with some essays on the topic of the artist on the Internet. Directions on how to do photo transfers and how to do encaustic collage are provided.

The book has a products resource guide, a vendor listing and a directory of all the artists featured in the book.

The paper in the book is high quality glossy paper. The layout is very nice and the photographs are in full-color. This was very nicely put together.

I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in mixed-media collage. If you love to read about what inspires artists and about people’s creative process you will really enjoy this book.

Additional Thoughts on How This Book Affected Me
My personal take-away from this book is a feeling of freedom of expression and a desire to go make my own personal style of art. In the past I have felt uncomfortable when I was creating art that was not the current trend. Also while doing mail art swaps I have been criticized for making art that is not the hot fad of the day, for using different colors or materials than some people were. I have been a fan of Teesha Moore’s for a couple of years and emulate a bit of what she does but other than that I personally don’t plan to copy the work of these artists even though there are stepped out directions for five projects. What each of us takes away from a book is unique and that is alright.

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