Ben Branagan, Inca Starzinsky and Sophie Smallhorn- 3 practitioners I discovered today and not being able to decide who to write about I decided to do all three.
Ben Branagan is a south London based artist and designer making really interesting collages using found photography or pictures he’s taken himself, cutting out and overlapping images to create a sort of surreal vibe where you are looking into several dimensions at once.
The process consists of pretty straight forward cutting holes in images and laying them on top of other images to create a whole new picture and result is very elegant and I find myself just staring at them for a long time trying to figure out what is happening. The chair and table above is my favourite piece as the seam between the two images flow so perfectly together, the background being almost the same shade of grey. He’s taken something that to me wouldn’t otherwise be that interesting and by altering just one thing made it completely different. Scrolling through more of his work I also found this piece:
that I also really like because it reminds me of when I was studying art conservation and how we look at history as different types of layers that we can scrape of to reveal the one that is most interesting to us. All he’s done here is placing scraps of paper on to a photo of an old statue in Rome but it works so well.
Inca Starzinsky has worked as a graphic designer, textile designer, artist and design director. She has a shop where she sells her own jewelry made from geometric shapes and bright colours. Like Ben Branagan, there is nothing especially complicated about her designs as they simply line up different shapes and colours to create bold pieces.
Bundling these shapes together they form a unity that I think is really beautiful and reminds me of screenprinting in the way the visual language speaks and how the same colours are layered on top of one another again and again to create depth.
Sophie Smallhorn’s art resonates with Starzinsky’s in the way that it is also bright and bold and she experiments with overlapping but also makes sculptures out of coloured blocks.
Working with colour, volume and proportion she creates sculptures and prints and is also commissioned to work with bigger architectural pieces. The above picture is my favourite piece by the artist consisting of circles in different colours hung snugly next to each other. This is a good example of how something simple done at a bigger scale using repetition can have a big impact. It just contrasts so well with the stark whiteness around it, like pieces of a mobile waiting to be assembled.
What all these designers have in common I realised is the layering factor. They all make collages but in different ways and plays with overlapping, not showing you the whole picture and transparency. Two years ago I absolutely hated collage. The technique reminded me of failed paper mache projects made when I was six years old and torn newspaper smudging old ink everywhere. The messiness and the yellow tint colour I associated it with just wasn’t something I enjoyed at all. Today I really like making collages as I’ve realised they don’t have to be that way at all and it’s a really fun technique to use. These three designers has made me realise there are even more ways of making collages and they can be so different from one another!
While reading about Sophie Smallhorn I also stumbled upon another designer called James Hunter who does these really cool screenprints with abstract shapes that link up like a little puzzle that’s made me think about my project more and especially the word “child” that I have to work with. Check him out!