When I was invited to be a student on the set of Crystal Neubauer’s new “Expressive Collage” video series, I had no idea how very personal my collage would turn out. Before we even met she encouraged me to bring along some of my own ephemera, so I showed up to the studio with a bag full of random papers from when I performed regularly as a dancer. Crystal also kindly let me use the gorgeous papers she had brought from her own collection, and I happily accepted.
After being part of her “Expressive Collage Workshop: Working with Color,” I now have a finished piece of art that hangs on my wall, reminding me that I have this history. Because I switched gears a few years ago to focus more on my sons and my novel, I’m so grateful for this physical homage to my days of performing.
I’ll share with you a little more about my collage, so that it might inspire your next piece. Here’s what I included:
• A pink packing slip still stapled to a white receipt, from when my group designed and printed bumper stickers.
• A torn strip from a random calendar, representing the specific dates for gigs.
• A road map, because we drove all over the area for shows (before I had a GPS, lol).
• A piece of caution tape that we used for fun (in English and Spanish it read “Hot Set!” Maybe I should mention a little-known fact here–I was also a fire eater).
• A cut-out shape from one of our business cards.
• A torn page of edits from my novel.
Along with these personal pieces, I used some cool scraps from Crystal’s collage stash: a piece of sheet music; a book cover that read “Ambition is Not a Vice of Little People;” the word “curiosity” in bold red and black; and a softer (or, as Crystal would likely call it, “calmer”) piece of a book that’s off-white with gray cloth, the stitching still glued and exposed.
As I experimented with how the pages would be laid out on the canvas, Crystal rescued my collage from being overrun by the “Ambition” book cover. She explained that I could knock the text back by going over it with a thin layer of paint, and even rotate the direction of the canvas so that the cover, now sideways, was more challenging to read. Brilliant!
She also taught me how to choose colors that matched the ephemera and “pull” the color down the sides of the canvas, so that it almost looks like the papers are folded over the edge. This is such a cool effect! It really made the piece look more complete.
I learned so much more in this and in her “Creative Warm-Ups and Techniques” workshops. I hope you’ll check them out. The best way to do so is with this exclusive Art of Expressive Collage kit. It includes four of Crystals collage videos, her book The Art of Expressive Collage, and some more goodies that you’ll want to add to your stash.