The images below, are from one of the artworks I created using a hollowed-out book as a starting point, to explore new approaches, to the narrative process, of image making.
Reflecting upon this experience, it was one that almost, at every stage, there was an aspect of doubt, as to whether I was able to achieve my outcome, one which really stretched me as an artist, which in many ways, made it quite exhilarating.
One my inspirations to this approach, was the work of Dave McKean, who created these amazing front covers in the 1990’s for the Sandman comic written by Neil Gaiman. Looking at these, they seem to sum up a whole story way beyond what was within the pages, with a combination of mixed media, of drawing, sculpture, constructions, and found objects, and with the advent of the internet, it wasn’t that found out, that these were very big constructions, makes it all the more staggering.
Although, McKean’s work in the context of comics/commercial, it is from a tradition that can be linked back to the fine art tradition of assemblage, which I had studied at art college, except what McKean had done, was to give a modern/contemporary edge, that really appealed to me.
Assemblage dates back to the cubist artwork of Picasso, and Duchamp, who used found objects in their work, although the word wasn’t used until the 1950s, with Dubuffet who created a series of collages of butterfly wings, which he titled ‘assemblages d'empreintes’.
Artwork by Rosalie Gascoigne
Artwork by Joseph Cornell
Though in particular, it’s the artwork of Rosalie Gascoigne, and Joseph Cornell, which particularly struck me as above, more intimate in size, than the bombastic constructions of McKean, they have this stillness, but also an intimate sense, that you are directly involved in an unspoken dialogue with the artist.
In many respects, this is why I chose to cut away the insides of a book, as it already has that intimate nature, the memories enriched within it as a found object, to then reveal inside my artwork as a part of that dialogue with the person viewing it.
Whilst, the first few assemblages I have created, through researching this artwork again after all these years, I feel I’ve only just touched the surface of the possibilities to aid the narrative process that these can be used with my graphic works/comics.