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The disturbing and creepy portrait collages of Phillip Kremer
01:19 pm


Phillip Kremer

Your worst fears have a face. And it looks like this.

Texas-based artist Phillip Kremer creates weird, funny, and seriously grotesque collages of celebrities, politicians, musicians and movie stars. Kremer’s headshots are created with an app on his i-Phone. He finds images online and then manipulates them into obscene portraits. He pulls their skin, enlarges their mouths to gargantuan proportions and inserts eyeballs, food or bulging muscles where he thinks they will work best. Though the results can often be shocking, Kremer’s finished collages are funny and still recognizably human—often capturing some intrinsic characteristic of the featured celebrity subject.

Kremer’s collages have garnered him a big following on Instagram and Tumblr where you can find more of his work
More of Kremer’s surreal collages, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Collage Life: The Surreal and Disturbing Artwork of Ffo
10:44 am


Francis Bacon

Ffo is a Moscow-based artist who creates beautiful, strange and surreal collages from anatomical illustrations, classical art, 1950’s pop culture images and Art Nouveau prints.

What little is known about this anonymous artist comes directly from the answers given to questions asked by fans. From these we learn Ffo studied at art college for three years before turning his/her talents to creating collages.

I’m focusing on making collages cuz it’s a really great way to express yourself, for me it’s also a symbol of contemporary world – a hard mix of different people, styles, cultures, eras, like there are no borders between art and reality anymore. It’s very beautiful, multi-layered, provocative and bizarre.

Ffo describes him/herself as “a stalker” who takes “inspiration [from] almost from everything” but mainly life:

[P]eople are my main inspiration, their appearance, relationships, conversations, feelings. Allmost all my works represent my own emotions and desires and means a lot for me.

Ffo makes paper collage with Paint Tool SAI to create fabulously surreal, disturbing yet highly charged images. Once a collage is finished, it is published online at the Ffo Art blog.

There is something about Ffo’s work that makes me think of the quote Francis Bacon famously used when describing his paintings as depicting “the brutality of fact.” By which he meant reworking reality by artificial means to create a more intense, visceral and yet utterly truer vision of the world. Though by different means there is something similar going on here in Ffo’s surreal, disturbing yet strangely beautiful artworks.
See more of Ffo’s strange and surreal collages, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Strange, surreal portraits made from found photographs, food, insects and everyday objects
08:12 am


Susana Blasco

For this recipe you’ll need some bean sprouts, one fish-head, a tablespoon of popcorn, one butterfly, some seeds, half-a-dozen seashells, some buttons, a watch and two dozen photographs found in an old flea market.

Susana Blasco admits to having the soul of a sailor . She also owns up to being an artist, graphic designer, illustrator and razor sharpener. Susana has designed book covers, album covers, posters and all the other things graphic designers do. She also makes rather fabulous and imaginative artworks out of found photographs.

Antiheroes is one of Susana’s many photographic projects. It began through trial and error, chance and experimentation where Susana placed everyday objects on top of old photographs to create surreal and slightly disturbing portraits. A slug becomes a woman’s smile, a girl embraces her sister with a crab tentacle, a woman’s head explodes into shoots, and a man’s head is eaten by confetti. I find these pictures quite irresistible, in large part due to Susana’s highly imaginative use of mundane props to create startling portraits from a seemingly unknown world.

Susanna’s series Antiheroes is available as prints.
See more of Susana Blasco’s surreal portraits, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Home Made Histories: Classical Art meets Pulp Fiction

The artist Thomas Robson describes himself as a “recovering ex-broadcast television graphic designer.” He spent fourteen years, “focused on producing graphics and animations for the BBC Newsroom in Belfast during some of the most traumatic years of the Northern Ireland conflict.”

The experience of working with “a highly edited and curated visual language” gave Robson an “increasing unease” to broadcast television—where the finished product “deliberately sets out to blur viewers’ ability to differentiate between the contrived world and the real one.”

Every day he was “editing and re-contexturalising imagery into new transient compositions based around multiple elements and perspectives”—all of which (he admits) may have been “a precursor of [his] collage experimentation?”

Robson began to wonder how he could make viewers question the received imagery more deeply. He started to create collages which fused classic paintings with photography and populist imagery. He tells me he was “visually experimenting, creating visual short circuits disrupting the context form and composition of the original pictures. Generating transitory new types of provisional imagery possessing an amalgam of the enigmatic and the accessible. Offering compelling interplays between the residual associations of the original pictures and the dissonances of the imposed visual collisions.”

He describes this process as Art Remix—“a new categories of art composition.”

In which new layers of visual interventions are used to reconstruct and transform the significance of images, place them in new contexts and in so doing make new demands on the viewer.

It is an approach which seeks to short circuit peoples’ common interactions with representational fine art & photography. Forcing them to question images more intently, and in so doing develop enhanced critical skills and visual literacy.

Home Made Histories mixes classical painting with images from pulp fiction. He describes this work as “Rewiring aesthetics, with new visual narratives.”

One important influence on Robson’s life has been living though thirty years of sectarian conflict in Northern Ireland. This Robson claims has made him “highly sensitive to the repressed emotions and hidden meanings which underpin many social interactions and conversations.”

This search to discover the hidden or the repressed voice has always informed my reaction to the highly representational portraits of western art. To my eyes they always evoke questions of what informed their production, just how accurately do the finished pictures conceal or reveal the sitter’s true identity, the artists personality and indeed how such pictures strive to totally extinguish the context of their production in the studio.

From the democratic and more open contexts of today, it is as if the concept of creative expression was repressed by a slavish adherence to a highly codified academic style of painting. Visual language was defined and corralled in a rigid hierarchical structure, by a self appointed aesthetic elite who had appropriated the power to adjudge and frame what was good and bad art, and in doing suppress and control artistic and creative expression. It is this suppression of expression and selective edit of social memory that creatively excites me.

Home Made Histories depict 17th century and 18th century family portraits juxtaposed with sensationalist images of violence pulled from pulp magazines and novels. Here is a secret narrative to what the original artworks are possibly hiding—abuse, oppression, and the growth of empire. Robson’s artworks encourage the viewer to engage and question rather just passively admire.

I like Robson’s work and wanted to know more. I winged him a few quick q’s by email to ask about his inspiration and ideas behind Home Made Histories.

Thomas Robson: I was listening to James Elroy’s Blood’s A Rover audio book (HIGHLY recommended!) which is pretty pulpy in nature, whist collaging a collection of elements from ‘men’s magazines’ with ‘fine art’ images. To see what would happen when such disparate elements were in forced collision. Basically visually re-interrogating received ‘fine art’, by using collage techniques in combination with the tools, visual language and grammar of today.

In practice it quickly a became apparent the narrative dissonances caused by the widely differing elements. Were successfully impeding received ways of digesting the underlying ‘fine art’ images, by offering intriguing and highly accessible new visual narratives. Pictures cleansing viewers’ visual palettes, enabling new meanings swim in and out of focus.

But most importantly of all I really like the strong aesthetics resultant, and there’s a lot more good work to come. Which when translated into paintings should result in some pretty strong imagery to intrigue, excite and repay repeated viewings.


Robson’s work has been included in several books—most recently Anatomy Rocks—Flesh and bones in contemporary art and a new exhibition The Brex Pistols Shrapnel Show will be held on December 5th, The Old Rifle Range, Killyleagh. His work is also available to buy as postcards.

If you like what you see then do check out more of Thomas Robson’s artwork here.
More of Thomas Robson’s pulp histories, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
The Surreal world of Coco Fronsac

Famille heureuse.
In one single day we upload more images onto the Internet than the total number of pictures produced during the whole of 19th century.

In one day—more pictures than a century’s worth of imagery. That’s one heck of a lotta selfies.

Our need for visual stimulus is relentless. We no longer view or experience imagery as previous generations did. The reverence with which some paintings or even photographs were once held is no longer relevant—we view indiscriminately, we consume continuously.

The French artist Coco Fronsac buys old discarded photographs from flea markets and turns them into Surreal works of art. Coco comes from a family of artists. Her grandparents Lucien Neuquelman and Camille Lesné were respected painters. Her parents met at art school. Coco attended art college in Paris before beginning her career as a painter, sculptor and creator of Surreal artworks from found photographs.

Coco takes each photograph—draws on it, paints over it and gives it a new life. If we cannot reclaim our past then we cannot understand our present. These photographs of people long dead, long forgotten have been abandoned, orphaned, thrown to the wind, sent for landfill. We no longer have any interest in them, their subject matter or the lives they lived. By turning these images into art, Coco reconnects the viewer’s relationship with the photo’s subjects. These reinvented images encourage the viewer to take a second look—to enquire about the subject matter and its history. Her intention is to bring people of different backgrounds together and rediscover the connections between us are far greater than the differences.

See more of Coco Fronsac’s work here.
Evidences spectrales.
Holidays on Mars.
More of Coco Fronsac’s work, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Fortune Cookie Porn Portraits

New York artist Kalen Hollomon creates disruptive collages exploring commerce, fashion, gender identity and the taboo through everyday images. His work examines “the ever-changing relationship between subject and object.”

“I am always concerned with what lies beneath the surface.

“I hope to create conversation that is rooted in questions related to learned social rules, identity, the subtext of everyday situations and perception. Above all, I try to capture a sense of romance in images that are spontaneous and slightly unnerving.”

Hollomon’s collages juxtapose images of sports stars with fashion models and porn actors, celebrities and brand names with down and outs and environmental disaster, porn with the utterly mundane.
Hollomon photographs his collages on his smartphone and shares them via his Instagram account. He has a following of over 100,000.

All subversive art is ultimately subsumed by the establishment it attacks. Hollomon’s success subverting the medium has led to a demand for his work from the very fashion magazines and brands he satirizes—Gucci, Calvin Klein and Vogue have all commissioned him or used his work.
His most recent project Fortune Portraits combines pages from porn mags taped over with happy, predictive tidings from fortune cookies.

Sayings like: “Business is a lot like playing tennis; if you don’t serve well, you lose,” “Expect much of yourself and little of others” and “Financial hardship in your life is coming to an end!” are plastered across wet-lipped young models who look directly (and suggestively) at the viewer creating a false sense of sexual intimacy and arousal. In the same way the fortune cookie promises some false good tidings to whoever happens to read it.

Hollomon describes the Fortune Portraits as being about “open-ended questions, seduction and desperation, both the wild unknown and the cliche, false promises and first impressions.”

Prints of the Fortune Portraits series are for sale—details here. More of this interesting artist’s work can be seen here.
More of Hollomon’s work, after the jump….

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Classical paintings transformed into beautifully trippy collages
10:58 am


Silviu and Irina Székley

Collage by Silviu and Irina Székley based on the 1451 painting by Piero della Francesca,
Collage by Silviu and Irina Székley based on the 1451 painting by Piero della Francesca, “Portrait of Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta.”

Each individual existence is a distortion in itself
—Silviu and Irina Székley

Silviu and Irina Székley say they were raised on the rebellious artistic concept of Dadism, which rose to popularity in the early part of the 20th Century. The duo’s prowess when it comes to the Dada component of collage is like nothing I’ve ever seen before, and their “manipulations” of famous works of art, such as the 1451 painting by Italian Renaissance painter, Piero della Francesca, “Portrait of Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta,” skillfully display the remarkable talent of these two self-taught Romanian artists.
Collage based on the painting,
Collage by Silviu and Irina Székley based on the painting, “Portrait of a Princess of the House of Este” by Pisanello in 1449.
A collage by Silviu and Irina Székley based on the early to mid 1400's painting
A collage by Silviu and Irina Székley based on the early to mid-1400’s painting “Portrait of a Princess” by Pisanello.

“Circollage XXI” a collage-like interpretation of the 1645 painting by Dutch painter, Pieter Jansz Saenredam “The St. Antoniuskapel in the St. Janskerk at Utrecht.”

“Circollage” of XXVI / Henri de Trait by Silviu and Irina Székley.
In accordance with their roots being firmly embedded in Dada, when asked in an interview from 2015 if or how their belief system translated to their work, Silviu and Irina had this to say:

Horses are often intimidated by fire. Spiders are extremely useful in reducing the quantity of flies. Steam is employed to great advantage for culinary purposes. The stings of bees are often more virulent than those of wasps.

More after the jump…

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Disturbingly beautiful collages of Hollywood stars
11:03 am


Matthieu Bourel

Natalie Wood (2014)
Beauty’s only skin deep, French artist Matthieu Bourel’s handmade collages of Hollywood stars seem to suggest. With his Faces series of collage, Bourel cuts holes into studio photographs of movie stars like Natalie Wood, Frances, Farmer, Sophia Loren and Gina Lollobrigida, to reveal the hidden beauty of connective tissue, muscles, arteries and veins underneath.

Or, in his Duplicity series, he layers multiple “slices” of an actor or actress’s face one inside another, emphasising the falsity of image and beauty, or the possible truth of the character beneath. The affect is surreal, beautiful and disturbing, and “evoke a fake history or inspire nostalgia for a period in time that never truly existed.”

More of Matthieu Bourel’s collages can be seen here
Gina / Headcut (2014)
Colourfull / Diva (2013)
Evolve (2105)
Princess / Headcut (2013)
Yul (2013)
More of Matthieu’s collages after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
The little-known collage art of Louis Armstrong
09:07 am


Louis Armstrong

I consider myself to be a more-educated-than-average jazz fan, especially in regards to the early New Orleans stuff. (I even did a report on Louis Armstrong in the fourth grade!) So how am I just now learning of Louis Armstrong’s cool collage work? Ken Burns, why hast thou forsaken me with thine sentimental and insufficient documentary series?!?

Louis started working in collage some time in the 1950s. Originally, he created them on paper and hung them in his den, but his wife wasn’t too keen on them, and he had to get creative. A dedicated recorder of his own performances, Armstrong always had a handy supply of reel-to-reel tapes with him everywhere he went, and the tape boxes were a perfect surface medium for his hobby. They weren’t really intended to be shown—they were his personal scrapbook, and the Louis Armstrong Archives at Queens College in Flushing, New York has about 1,000 of these collages on about 500 tape boxes.

Each piece pays close attention to balance—it feels cohesive and organic, and the indiscreet use of scotch tape “shows the seams,” so to speak. I like the use of color and combination of source materials—photos, news clippings, correspondence, concert programs, his own handwritten captions, and even bits of his beloved Swiss Kriss Herbal Laxatives packaging. I also like Armstrong’s use of his own image in his work; there’s something intimate about an artist reflecting on their own celebrity.

I’m getting a very Robert Rauschenberg vibe. You?







Via The Paris Review

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
The surreal, intricate collage of Lola Dupré
09:44 pm


Lola Dupre

Like many traditional collage artist, the Glasgow-based Lola Dupré makes all her work out of just paper, scissors and glue. But unlike most artists Lola goes further than relying on a simple juxtaposition of imagery to make a point. Instead she uses multiple copies of source material, employing thousands of cuts and manipulating tiny shards of paper to create a strange, amorphous, almost fractal vision. Her work is like looking at a dissolving reality reflected in a spoon.




In a recent interview on the Empty Kingdom blog, Lola says this of her modus operandi:

t came about through experiments with paper as a sculptural medium, through a chance arrangement in 3D forms I began to think about applying it in 2D.  I guess the work could say a few different things about me; I think I am meticulous and multi-dimensional as a person, perhaps that comes across in my work, I’m not sure.  In my opinion, I create, and it is up to the viewer to decipher things and find meaning.

You can read the rest of that interview here, and see all of Lola’s work at her website - in the meantime, click read on (below) to see more of her exceptional work. 


Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
Music transcends hate: video master Kutiman does it again with ‘Thru Jerusalem’

Israeli musician, composer, producer and videographer Ophir Kutiel does his art as Kutiman. You may recognize his name from Thru-You, the hypnotically rhythmic collage of non-pro musician YouTube videos from across the globe that he made in 2009, and which scored 10 million views, sent him to the Guggenheim, and made it into Time magazine and landed him at the Guggenheim.

Welp, he’s got a new one, and it’s a burner. With sectarian and ethnic tensions in his Jerusalem birthplace at what seems a permanent high, Kutiman has given the city a similar and very necessary visiosonic treatment with the help of 15 of its Arab and Jewish musicians. Check it.

After the jump: Kutiman’s mega-video-mashup from late last year Sue You...

Posted by Ron Nachmann | Leave a comment
The Books’ ‘I Didn’t Know That’: A modern-day hymn of wonder

Since guitarist/vocalist Nick Zammuto and cellist Paul de Jong came together to make music in New York City as The Books in 1999, they’ve put together four albums worth of some of the most unique and emotive music you’ll ever hear.

These two work in the poetic collage/sample music realm inhabited by artists like People Like Us and Negativland. But they distinguish themselves via their live instrumentation and Zammuto’s vocals, which often follow and repeat the various voices sampled from advertising, self-help media and other sources, transforming them into modern-day chants.

Zammuto’s also a pro at accompanying The Books’ music with amazing video collage, like this one that he put together for “I Didn’t Know That” from their latest album, The Way Out.

Get: The Books - The Way Out [CD]
Get: The Books - The Way Out [album download]


Posted by Ron Nachmann | Leave a comment