ask yourself


april, 2019

Digital, analogue or both? What is your preferred way to work? And why?

[Have you switched from one to the other? How did that go? Did you switch back? Are you considering to try to work the other way? If so, what are your concerns? Do you think one way of working is superior to the other? What are the different challenges of working one way or the other?]

︎ As someone who works on a computer all day, analogue is my choice. I have difficulty spending time working on a screen during my free time. It feels too much like "work" based on my primary, income driven job. Being away from a computer is a welcome reprieve. 

Additionally, it's fair to say I'm addicted to the tactile aspects of collage. I get such a charge from using my hands to cut, tear, burn, or fold papers. The smell of different ages of paper and of the glue is a roller coaster of nostalgia. My inner five-year old also loves peeling the dried glue from my fingertips once I've finished. The process, start to finish, is joyous.

Last, I love the adventure the collage process affords me. Challenging myself to use found papers becomes a scavenger hunt and more of a "way of life" rather than selected moments. The collages I create with papers found along my travels are like footprints left behind.

Christie Nesbit, USA

︎ I love the both but work analog as my computer skills are zero. They are so different and we need to support the evolution of both. Digital is keeping collage in front of people with its ease of use in print world for advertising and as illustration for magazine articles. And the ability to produce works digitally in large scale makes it accessible for those who need to fill large walls. It allows also for people to buy the image, have it sent electronically and then the purchaser can reproduce without the cost of shipping. Analog for me is very traditional art and offers real live generations of older materials to meet. This provides for a time warp that is magical. No matter analogue is some of the most democratic form of art - free to most people as access to discarded paper, a bit of glue and hands will work, while for some scissors required by preference. To me we need to blow collage up as the art form of today and the future. You can get your message across in an efficient and affordable manner. Yay.

Laurie Kayner
Laurie Kayner

︎ If I had studio space I'd do more -- and larger scale -- analog work in general. But digital is a better fit for my currently mobile lifestyle. So grateful to actually have that option as I'm old enough to remember when it was analog or nothing. Embracing technology means I don't have to sacrifice creativity to travel, or forsake travelling in order to create.

︎ I agree! Been living as an expat for 9 years in the UAE/Middle East but for the past year in Saudi Arabia. Due to outrageous material constraints e.g. non-existent second hand-stores/limited magazines that are not only expensive but censored, etc. I began to incorporate my stock of found imagery (I lugged it with me from Texas along with my printer, scanner, guillotine) with digital material, as well as my own photography... Polaroid, IPhone, & SLR. I have had to adapt my techniques in order to create!

︎ I worked primarily in analog for the longest time, wanting to preserve that sense of preciousity that came with a physical object that couldn't really be infinitely reproduced. I think I felt like using digital means to create collages was cheating. But as I made more and more art it dawned on me: I like cheating. I'm good at it.

That feeling of wanting to keep that feeling of preciousity remained, though, even in creating digital art. I don't like using the same image twice. That's easy with analog collage: once you use something analog, it's gone, or rather a part of something else. But with digital images you need to remember if you've used it before, either by ways of organizing your used images or by remembering if you've made use of something before.

There will be times where I lean toward one or another and this is determined in part by if I've stumbled across a new resource and if that resource is analog or digital. It's also determined by if my kids are asleep or in school because of their innate ability to find and try to play with the most dangerous items they can find, and that Xacto knife has my prints on it.

Both methods have their own appeal and drawbacks, of course. With analog, you can revel in finding odd books or magazines and the like, filled with images that you wouldn't have likely stumbled upon online by chance. The different weights and textures of paper can't be reproduced with digital images and there's a weird sort of calm that can wash over you when you're slowly cutting out a picture by hand. The scattered leavings of paper after you cut can even provide unexpected inspiration by way of suddenly having discovering a beautiful shape among the scraps that are produced as a byproduct.

But it is time consuming. Sometimes I get frustrated having to wait until I'm done cutting out my images to start putting together my collage. And at times, analog collage relies heavily on luck. A composition you had in mind can end up not working because you can seem to find that lynchpin image, that picture that would make a creation seem "right" to you. Worse still, a mistake with a picture can be unforgiving.

Digital collage, in comparison, lets me quickly build an idea, find images that would best let me expand on it and do so with speed that lets me put it all together in the same time it would take me just to cut out half the images for my digital collage. My best works tend to come together quickly, the more time I spend agonizing over a project the more overworked and overcrowded with ideas. Digital lets me keep my works light, more readable as it were. I can avoid overthinking it. It goes without saying that digital is a million times more forgiving than analog, too.

That said, digital pales in comparison when it comes to that holistic discovery of images in the wild. And should you want to play by the rules when it comes to using image sources that aren't just lifted randomly and without the consent of the owner, you have to put in more work. I have no qualms with using pictures I own a physical copy of, but lifting images from the internet has a great deal of an ambiguous nature to it. That's just how I feel about it, though. I'm not writing to talk at length about digital rights.

So lately I've been splitting the difference. I'll cut out analog images, scan them, and assemble them digitally. This lets me enjoy the inspiration that comes with accidentally encountering a picture you didn't realize you needed until you saw it, and it also lets me enjoy the speed and malleable nature of digital composition. I'll often combine the two, mixing digital sources with analog and the difference in image fidelity can make for beautiful juxtaposition. With so many sources online being of such high resolution and physical sources being limited by the medium and exposure to the elements, there's a stark difference between the two, even when scanned.

The idea that either medium can be superior to the other is absurd to me. Regardless of how people choose to create should never overshadow the fact that they are, in fact, creating. By the very nature of making art, you're putting something out into our very tiny corner of the universe that had never previously existed. So, shame on those who turn up their nose on ANY medium. You'd deny the birth of something new based on what it's made of when what really matters is the fact that it's been made at all.

Spend less time concerning yourself what you're making is composed of and more time making. Make. Make make make make make.

Jason Paschal, Rhode Island, USA

︎ Since I started making papercollages the analog way I found myself a new way expressing myself. I was doing digital photography a lot that time. Which I still love to do but the handcraft factor of analog collages wins.

This is because I can really lose myself in finding the right spots for the right image, the right colours and composition by scissoring and glueing. I'm using all my senses. The feeling of the paper in the magazines, the smell of the glue. Cutting out little pieces of paper. Wiping out the glue with my fingers. The cat running through my mess.

This makes me very happy. I never tried digital collages because I don't like spending hours watching at my pc screen and I don't like spending lot of time figuring out how Photoshop works, for example.

Of course I see a lot of digital collages on Instagram. And many of them are very beautiful. Sometimes I think I have to go digital too, because of the more possibilities it has for making collages.

On the other hand I love to see edges, little mistakes and so on in analog collages. The digital collages are always seem to be very smooth and perfect. Which I don't like and that is my dilemma. I have thoughts like , oh it is all so very easy and quick making digital collages. Everything is possible and easy.

I don't know if that is true and thats why I think maybe in future I try digital. For now, I vote analog : )

This world is going very fast to be digital in all kind of ways. The child in me is rebellious. I want my hands to be messy, my room to be messy, feeling what I create with all of my senses.

Cleo Gomez, Netherlands

︎ Disfruto del proceso de hacer collage, casi tanto como del resultado final, por eso suelo utilizar exclusivamente el collage manual o analógico. Me permite mancharme, sentir las texturas de los diferentes materiales y a veces esperar meses por un elemento que me falta para terminar el puzzle.

Valoro también los trabajos de otros colegas en collage digital, pero personalmente me gusta la parte artesanal y el ritual de desplegar todos mis papeles, revistas, fotografías... por mesa y suelo para jugar e ilustrar una idea o pensamiento que me ronde.

Sonia, Spain
︎ En mis trabajos suelo mezclar la pintura y el dibujo, flores secas, papeles de periódicos, libros antiguos. Todo lo que encuentro a mi alrededor puede formar parte de mi obra así que, habitualmente, prefiero hacer collage analógico. Pero no tengo una postura tradicional con respecto a la creatividad así que, de vez en cuando, también trabajo digitalmente, sobre todo cuando no tengo dinero para comprar material. Me gusta la libertad que te brinda y lo que tiene de innovador.

Marga Vázquez, Spain

︎ I consider the two techniques interesting. I started with analogue collages and then switched to digital. Today, I work with both techniques. The creative process for doing one or the other is completely different and the results are very different too. That's why I like both!

Some effects I can do in analogue cannot carry to digital, and vice versa.

In the digital, I can search exactly the image I want. So the creative process goes more 'inside to outside'. In the analogue, I put together several cutouts and pieces of paper and start to build the collage. Sometimes the initial idea changes. It's like a more 'outside to inside' process. You have to decide the correct sequence to glue the pieces, otherwise you will not have the result you want to.

I think the analogue technique has an extra charm because all work is unique and you cannot reproduce it exactly the same. But that does not make digital collage less relevant.

Marcela Pacola, Brazil