Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Herbert Bayer (and an old collage technique)

Scraptorium wrote about hauling in a new, abundant (and cheap!) stash of magazines – I know the feeling, one of the best feelings for a collage artist. The future all lies out ahead. One of the most luxurious times is just reading all the stuff before you cut it up. I am not sure if other collage artists do this, but for me it is essential.

Scraptorium’s stash held Fortune – one of the best designed magazines of the 40s and 50s. I especially loved all the sleeves designed by Herbert Bayer.

I met Herbert Bayer once, at a show he had in SF in the 80s. He had been a student at the Bauhaus, under Kandinsky, Gropius and Moholy-Nagy. His name might not be all that famous, but when you see his work, you know you’ve seen it before. Some say that outside of a few outstanding montages, he was merely a proponent of “Good Design.” This, however, is no small achievement.

The Lonely Metropolitan (above) is one of my favorite photomontages. I wrote a poem based on the collage and when I used to read it at readings, I would pass the image around.

Anyway, the course of notes at Scrapatorium refer to coating collages with something as a means of archiving them. This reminded me of something I used to do, although a little different, and I wonder of anyone is doing this now:

In high school, the first photomontages I ever made, we laminated them with a laminating machine... sort of like ironing on a shiny coat….

Then... I put those collages under water, soaked them and the lamination separated from the paper with the images on it! So I had see-through photomontages which I then adhered to a window - like stained-glass but with photographic images instead. I recall very well one that had early pictures of Lucille Ball with flaming red hair. I also recall that this technique only worked with fairly sturdy paper, nothing too vulnerable.

Eventually I removed these collages from the high school art room windows and glued them on my index card boxes for my debate class, which was not a great use of them, but my card boxes looked like no one else’s.

Has anyone done this lately? Or seen it done? The only time I ever did that was back then, early 70s.


Howard said...

Hey Eva, That sounds something like an acrylic transfer where you coat an image with multiple layers of clear acrylic medium, let it dry completely, then soak it in water till the paper dissolves. The ink sticks to the medium and you are left with an image embedded in a flexible plastic surface.

Anonymous said...

..That's right! Here's some advice and info Paul gives on the method:
Acrylic Gel Transfers

A lot of his work has it and I think the same basic principles apply.

Thanks, Howard.


scrapatorium said...

Hello Eva. I've never tried it with a laminating machine, but have with packing tape and gel medium. Neither which I enjoyed. I like the idea of having transparent images on top layers so you can see the bottom ones, but I don't like getting my hands messy with sticky glues/residue.

Anonymous said...

I was wondering about that.
I like order with a straight cut. Not alot of ripping and loose ends... so I think the gel would not be as smooth and unifying as the laminating was.


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