Project : Abstracted Collage

Our first project is an exploration of the creative process as explained by the artist William Kentridge in his Tedx Talk “The Creative Process of a Master Artist.” In this talk, Kentridge uses the narrative “The Invention of Africa” as an entry way into a deep discussion of the artist’s creative process in the studio, the colonialism of Africa, the need for multiple voices, and the construction of identity and meaning. Referring to the Ghanaian proverb “If the good doctor can’t cure you, find a less good doctor,” Kentridge says that in the studio, the artist must “find the less good idea,” or make a space for secondary processes to emerge from the primary one.

Creative Method: You will use an experimental method- a series of trials and failures- that leave room for new ideas (the “secondary process”) to emerge. Begin working with no prior plan- just experiment with putting different fragments together on the paper and see what happens. When you like what you have, then glue or tape it down. Your only objective is to build an interesting design by piecing together several collage fragments.

Step 1: Collection- Collect images you like for their visual qualities (color, texture, shape, perspective, etc.) and keep them together in a folder- paper and/or digital. Collect a minimum of 30 images.

Step 2: Deconstruction- print out or xerox copy your images so they are on paper that can be cut up. Use scissors to cut up your images into smaller pieces and simple shapes. Make sure to break your images down into fragments small enough so that the image becomes unrecognizeable. Create a large pile of collage fragments and keep them all together in a plastic baggie or envelope.

Step 3: Re-Combination- (a.k.a “Collage”)- re-combine your small paper pieces on a clean sheet of paper either 5.5” x 8.5” or 8.5” x 11” as if you are putting a puzzle back together, except it’s a puzzle that you are creating. Look to find points or lines of connection between image pieces- place them together with intention; not randomly. Notice how one image fragment looks different depending on what you put next to it. Glue or tape the image pieces down to make your composition. Make a total of 6 collages.

Step 4: Photograph* your finished collages and email the image files to Take the photo close up, one photo per collage. *Watch this video for tips on How to photograph your collages with a smartphone

Learning Goals: • Gain hands-on practice with an experimental creative process that allows for secondary processes to occur. • Introduction to the contemporary artist William Kentridge and his philosophy of creative work. • Gain practice creating visual compositions. • Reflect on your experience with this creative process through discussion. • Introduction to basic design theory.

Grading Criteria:

6 completed collages submitted on or before the deadline: 50 points

Level of Experimentation (each composition is different): 50 points

What to turn in: Photograph each collage individually and attach your 6 image files in an email to Prof. Gill at