archive of his work at www.belltoons.co.uk. His current work and interviews with him are available at www.guardian.co.uk
approaches caricature by picking out key visual elements which he amplifies and distorts: Tony Blair’s eyes and ears, Margaret Thatcher’s
nose. These features make them look like Blair and Thatcher, but he also makes them a site of connotation – Blair’s eyes make him seem slightly demented, while Thatcher’s nose becomes hard and beak-like. In Steve Bell’s John Major, he’s worked with a fairly recognisable portrait of him, though in every cartoon Major is wearing his underpants on the outside of his suit, connoting a level of innocent ineptitude.
“It isn’t simply a question of getting the likeness: you have to discover the character behind the face. My early Thatchers are no more than press photos rendered into line drawings, but then the woman herself was not yet a fully formed personality.”
While many illustrators have continued to use the simple materials of pen and wash, line and watercolour, established during the eighteenth century as a way to draw caricatures, others have explored the possibility of collage and photomontage as a way of directly using the image of their subjects. Using collage can be quicker and more direct, especially if caricature is not your thing, but accessing source material can be harder and if you’re publishing your work you can run into all sorts of copyright issues.
Collage (from the French: coller, “to glue”; French pronunciation: [kɔ.laʒ]) is a technique of an art production, primarily used in the visual arts, where the artwork is made from an assemblage of different forms, thus creating a new whole.
A collage may sometimes include magazine and newspaper clippings, ribbons, paint, bits of colored or handmade papers, portions of other artwork or texts, photographs and other found objects, glued to a piece of paper or canvas. The origins of collage can be traced back hundreds of years, but this technique made a dramatic reappearance in the early 20th century as an art form of novelty.
Techniques of collage were first used at the time of the invention of paper in China, around 200 BC. The use of collage, however, wasn’t used by many people until the 10th century in Japan, when calligraphers began to apply glued paper, using texts on surfaces, when writing their poems. The technique of collage appeared in medieval Europe during the 13th century. Gold leaf panels started to be applied in Gothic cathedrals around the 15th and 16th centuries. Gemstones and other precious metals were applied to religious images, icons, and also, to coats of arms. An 18th-century example of collage art can be found in the work of Mary Delany. In the 19th century, collage methods also were used among hobbyists for memorabilia (e.g. applied to photo albums) and books (e.g. Hans Christian Andersen, Carl Spitzweg). Many institutions have attributed the beginnings of the practice of collage to Picasso and Braque in 1912, however, early Victorian photocollage suggest collage techniques were practiced in the early 1860s. Many institutions recognize these works as memorabilia for hobbyists, though they functioned as a facilitator of Victorian aristocratic collective portraiture, proof of female erudition, and presented a new mode of artistic representation that questioned the way in which photography is truthful. In 2009, curator Elizabeth Siegel organized the exhibition: Playing with Pictures  at the Art Institute Chicago to acknowledge collage works by Alexandra of Denmark and Mary Georgina Filmer among others. The exhibition later traveled to The Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Art Gallery of Ontario.
Collage and modernism
Despite the pre-twentieth-century use of collage-like application techniques, some art authorities argue that collage, properly speaking, did not emerge until after 1900, in conjunction with the early stages of modernism.
For example, the Tate Gallery‘s online art glossary states that collage “was first used as an artists’ technique in the twentieth century.”. According to the Guggenheim Museum‘s online art glossary, collage is an artistic concept associated with the beginnings of modernism, and entails much more than the idea of gluing something onto something else. The glued-on patches which Braque and Picasso added to their canvases offered a new perspective on painting when the patches “collided with the surface plane of the painting.” In this perspective, collage was part of a methodical reexamination of the relation between painting and sculpture, and these new works “gave each medium some of the characteristics of the other,” according to the Guggenheim essay. Furthermore, these chopped-up bits of newspaper introduced fragments of externally referenced meaning into the collision: “References to current events, such as the war in the Balkans, and to popular culture enriched the content of their art.” This juxtaposition of signifiers, “at once serious and tongue-in-cheek,” was fundamental to the inspiration behind collage: “Emphasizing concept and process over end product, collage has brought the incongruous into meaningful congress with the ordinary.”
Collage in painting
Collage in the modernist sense began with Cubist painters Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso. According to some sources, Picasso was the first to use the collage technique in oil paintings. According to the Guggenheim Museum‘s online article about collage, Braque took up the concept of collage itself before Picasso, applying it to charcoal drawings. Picasso adopted collage immediately after (and was perhaps indeed the first to use collage in paintings, as opposed to drawings):
“It was Braque who purchased a roll of simulated oak-grain wallpaper and began cutting out pieces of the paper and attaching them to his charcoal drawings. Picasso immediately began to make his own experiments in the new medium.”
Surrealist artists have made extensive use of collage. Cubomania is a collage made by cutting an image into squares which are then reassembled automatically or at random. Collages produced using a similar, or perhaps identical, method are called etrécissements by Marcel Mariën from a method first explored by Mariën. Surrealist games such as parallel collage use collective techniques of collage making.
The Sidney Janis Gallery held an early Pop Art exhibit called the New Realist Exhibition in November 1962, which included works by the American artists Tom Wesselmann, Jim Dine, Robert Indiana, Roy Lichtenstein, Claes Oldenburg, James Rosenquist, George Segal, and Andy Warhol; and Europeans such as Arman, Baj, Christo, Yves Klein, Festa, Rotella, Jean Tinguely, and Schifano. It followed the Nouveau Réalisme exhibition at the Galerie Rive Droite in Paris, and marked the international debut of the artists who soon gave rise to what came to be called Pop Art in Britain and The United States and Nouveau Réalisme on the European continent. Many of these artists used collage techniques in their work. Wesselmann took part in the New Realist show with some reservations, exhibiting two 1962 works: Still life #17 and Still life #22.
Another technique is that of canvas collage, which is the application, typically with glue, of separately painted canvas patches to the surface of a painting’s main canvas. Well known for use of this technique is British artist John Walker in his paintings of the late 1970s, but canvas collage was already an integral part of the mixed media works of such American artists as Conrad Marca-Relli and Jane Frank by the early 1960s. The intensely self-critical Lee Krasner also frequently destroyed her own paintings by cutting them into pieces, only to create new works of art by reassembling the pieces into collages.
Collage with wood
The wood collage is a type that emerged somewhat later than paper collage. Kurt Schwitters began experimenting with wood collages in the 1920s after already having given up painting for paper collages. The principle of wood collage is clearly established at least as early as his ‘Merz Picture with Candle’, dating from the mid to late 1920s.
It is also interesting to note that wood collage in a sense made its debut, indirectly, at the same time as paper collage, since (according to the Guggenheim online), Georges Braque initiated use of paper collage by cutting out pieces of simulated oak-grain wallpaper and attaching them to his own charcoal drawings. Thus, the idea of gluing wood to a picture was implicitly there from the start, since the paper used in the very first paper collages was a commercial product manufactured to look like wood.
It was during a fifteen-year period of intense experimentation beginning in the mid-1940s that Louise Nevelson evolved her sculptural wood collages, assembled from found scraps, including parts of furniture, pieces of wooden crates or barrels, and architectural remnants like stair railings or moldings. Generally rectangular, very large, and painted black, they resemble gigantic paintings. Concerning Nevelson’s Sky Cathedral (1958), the Museum of Modern Art catalogue states, “As a rectangular plane to be viewed from the front, Sky Cathedral has the pictorial quality of a painting…” Yet such pieces also present themselves as massive walls or monoliths, which can sometimes be viewed from either side, or even looked through.
Much wood collage art is considerably smaller in scale, framed and hung as a painting would be. It usually features pieces of wood, wood shavings, or scraps, assembled on a canvas (if there is painting involved), or on a wooden board. Such framed, picture-like, wood-relief collages offer the artist an opportunity to explore the qualities of depth, natural color, and textural variety inherent in the material, while drawing on and taking advantage of the language, conventions, and historical resonances that arise from the tradition of creating pictures to hang on walls. The technique of wood collage is also sometimes combined with painting and other media in a single work of art.
Frequently, what is called “wood collage art” uses only natural wood – such as driftwood, or parts of found and unaltered logs, branches, sticks, or bark. This raises the question of whether such artwork is collage (in the original sense) at all (see Collage and modernism). This is because the early, paper collages were generally made from bits of text or pictures – things originally made by people, and functioning or signifying in some cultural context. The collage brings these still-recognizable “signifiers” (or fragments of signifiers) together, in a kind of semiotic collision. A truncated wooden chair or staircase newel used in a Nevelson work can also be considered a potential element of collage in the same sense: it had some original, culturally determined context. Unaltered, natural wood, such as one might find on a forest floor, arguably has no such context; therefore, the characteristic contextual disruptions associated with the collage idea, as it originated with Braque and Picasso, cannot really take place. (Driftwood is of course sometimes ambiguous: while a piece of driftwood may once have been a piece of worked wood – for example, part of a ship – it may be so weathered by salt and sea that its past functional identity is nearly or completely obscured.)
Decoupage is a type of collage usually defined as a craft. It is the process of placing a picture into an object for decoration. Decoupage can involve adding multiple copies of the same image, cut and layered to add apparent depth. The picture is often coated with varnish or some other sealant for protection.
In the early part of the 20th century, decoupage, like many other art methods, began experimenting with a less realistic and more abstract style. 20th-century artists who produced decoupage works include Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse. The most famous decoupage work is Matisse’s Blue Nude II.
There are many varieties on the traditional technique involving purpose made ‘glue’ requiring fewer layers (often 5 or 20, depending on the amount of paper involved). Cutouts are also applied under glass or raised to give a three-dimensional appearance according to the desire of the decouper. Currently decoupage is a popular handicraft.
The craft became known as découpage in France (from the verb découper, ‘to cut out’) as it attained great popularity during the 17th and 18th centuries. Many advanced techniques were developed during this time, and items could take up to a year to complete due to the many coats and sandings applied. Some famous or aristocratic practitioners included Marie Antoinette, Madame de Pompadour, and Beau Brummell. In fact the majority of decoupage enthusiasts attribute the beginning of decoupage to 17th century Venice. However it was known before this time in Asia.
The most likely origin of decoupage is thought to be East Siberian funerary art. Nomadic tribes would use cut out felts to decorate the tombs of their deceased. From Siberia, the practice came to China, and by the 12th century, cut out paper was being used to decorate lanterns, windows, boxes and other objects. In the 17th century, Italy, especially in Venice, was at the forefront of trade with the Far East and it is generally thought that it is through these trade links that the cut out paper decorations made their way into Europe.
Collage made from photographs, or parts of photographs, is called photomontage. Photomontage is the process (and result) of making a composite photograph by cutting and joining a number of other photographs. The composite picture was sometimes photographed so that the final image is converted back into a seamless photographic print. The same method is accomplished today using image-editing software. The technique is referred to by professionals as compositing.
Just what is it that makes today’s homes so different, so appealing? was created in 1956 for the catalogue of the This Is Tomorrow exhibition in London, England in which it was reproduced in black and white. In addition, the piece was used in posters for the exhibit. Richard Hamilton has subsequently created several works in which he reworked the subject and composition of the pop art collage, including a 1992 version featuring a female bodybuilder. Many artists have created derivative works of Hamilton’s collage. P. C. Helm made a year 2000 interpretation.
Other methods for combining pictures are also called photomontage, such as Victorian “combination printing”, the printing from more than one negative on a single piece of printing paper (e.g. O. G. Rejlander, 1857), front-projection and computer montage techniques. Much as a collage is composed of multiple facets, artists also combine montage techniques. Romare Bearden’s (1912–1988) series of black and white “photomontage projections” is an example. His method began with compositions of paper, paint, and photographs put on boards 8½ × 11 inches. Bearden fixed the imagery with an emulsion that he then applied with handroller. Subsequently, he enlarged the collages photographically.
The 19th century tradition of physically joining multiple images into a composite and photographing the results prevailed in press photography and offset lithography until the widespread use of digital image editing. Contemporary photo editors in magazines now create “paste-ups” digitally.
Creating a photomontage has, for the most part, become easier with the advent of computer software such as Adobe Photoshop, Pixel image editor, and GIMP. These programs make the changes digitally, allowing for faster workflow and more precise results. They also mitigate mistakes by allowing the artist to “undo” errors. Yet some artists are pushing the boundaries of digital image editing to create extremely time-intensive compositions that rival the demands of the traditional arts. The current trend is to create pictures that combine painting, theatre, illustration and graphics in a seamless photographic whole.
Digital collage is the technique of using computer tools in collage creation to encourage chance associations of disparate visual elements and the subsequent transformation of the visual results through the use of electronic media. It is commonly used in the creation of digital art.
A 3D collage is the art of putting altogether three-dimensional objects such as rocks, beads, buttons, coins, or even soil to form a new whole or a new object. Examples can include houses, bead circles, etc.
It is the art of putting together or assembling of small pieces of paper, tiles, marble, stones, etc. They are often found in cathedrals, churches, temples as a spiritual significance of interior design.Small pieces, normally roughly quadratic, of stone or glass of different colors, known as tesserae, (diminutive tessellae), are used to create a pattern or picture.
The term “eCollage” (electronic Collage) can be used for a collage created by using computer tools.
- Johannes Baader
- Johannes Theodor Baargeld
- Jeannie Baker
- Nick Bantock
- Hannelore Baron
- Romare Bearden
- Peter Blake
- Umberto Boccioni
- Rita Boley Bolaffio
- Henry Botkin
- Pauline Boty
- Mark Bradford
- Georges Braque
- Alberto Burri
- Reginald Case
- Jess Collins
- Greg Colson
- Felipe Jesus Consalvos
- Joseph Cornell
- Amadeo de Souza Cardoso
- Eric Carle
- Jim Dine
- Burhan Doğançay
- Magie Dominic
- Arthur G. Dove
- Jean Dubuffet
- Marcel Duchamp
- Lois Ehlert
- Max Ernst
- Nick Gentry
- Terry Gilliam
- Juan Gris
- George Grosz
- Raymond Hains
- Kenneth Halliwell
- Richard Hamilton
- Raoul Hausmann
- Damien Hirst
- Hannah Höch
- David Hockney
- Istvan Horkay
- Ray Johnson
- Panayiotis Kalorkoti
- Peter Kennard
- Jiří Kolář
- Lee Krasner
- François Lanzi
- John K. Lawson
- Kazimir Malevich
- Conrad Marca-Relli
- Eugene J. Martin
- Henri Matisse
- John McHale
- Robert Motherwell
- Vik Muniz
- Wangechi Mutu
- Joseph Nechvatal
- Louise Nevelson
- Robert Nickle
- Eduardo Paolozzi
- Claude Pélieu
- Francis Picabia
- Pablo Picasso
- David Plunkert
- Guillem Ramos-Poquí
- David Ratcliff
- Robert Rauschenberg
- Man Ray
- Gordon Rice
- Larry Rivers
- James Rosenquist
- Martha Rosler
- Mimmo Rotella
- Anne Ryan
- Kurt Schwitters
- Winston Smith
- Gino Severini
- John Stezaker
- Daniel Spoerri
- Francois Szalay – Colos
- Roderick Slater
- Ivan Tabakovic
- Jonathan Talbot
- Lenore Tawney
- Cecil Touchon
- Scott Treleaven
- Fatimah Tuggar
- Jacques Villeglé
- Kara Walker
- Tom Wesselmann
Searle had one of the longest, most productive and wide ranging career of any 20th century caricaturist, working in book and magazine illustration, travel reportage, war reporting, political caricature, theatre, film and medal design.
His methods range from simple exaggeration of facial features, costumes and fashion fads; clever juxtapositions and contrasts of body types; absurd, nonsense comedy; physical, burlesque comedy; dark humour; bawdy humour; and more complicated word-play, with the interplay of word and image or ironic literary allusions.
Born and based in Cambridge
Fiztwilliam Museum 13 October 2015 to 31 January 2016.
In 1957 Standard Oil commissioned Searle to design the short which saw him visit America for the first time. The film was produced through Transfilm with the actual animation created by Dave Hilberman (a founding member of UPA) at Playhouse Pictures with Bill Melendez supervising animation and Art Babbitt animating at Quartet Films in Los Angeles. Searle spent several months in the US where his time was split between the ad agency (McCann-Erickson) in New York and the production outfits in LA.
“In that 16 minutes nearly 25,000 drawings were shown. The cost was four months work, often night and day, by something like 150 people and an expenditure of 450, 000 dollars.”
Wine & Spirit Trade Review, 7 March 1958
Find examples of contemporary caricature and identify the elements of the drawing that help with the character recognition and where the caricature takes place. From the information contained in the drawing, how do you know who this person is? How has the illustrator exaggerated or embellished this visual information to provide a caricature? What are the connotations of their exaggerations? Reflect on this in your learning log.
While symbolism and metaphor underpins the structure of satirical cartoons, caricature provides both its currency and its bite. Caricature communicates who you are talking about to an audience, and it also provides some commentary on what you think of them.
As Hogarth’s The Bench points out, there’s a difference between character and caricature.
- Character is about recognising the person, caricature about commenting on that person. This is a process of denotation – we need to know accurately who this is;
- For caricature to work, you need to capture the essence of the person from a ‘I know who that person is’ to ‘I know what that person thinks, feels, how they act’ perspective. This second is about connotation
– what are you saying about this person?
Gary Brown has done something similar with Blair’s eyes, which hints at
this representation of him having currency as a visual language.
Barry Fantoni’s portraits of 70s and 80s television celebrities, while exaggerating facial features and expressions for comic effect, are centred on being able to represent the character accurately.
Contemporary illustrator Thea Brine works in a similar way, hinting at
caricature but remaining true to the character.
By comparison, the work of contemporary cartoonist Martin Rowson is a lot more exaggerated, more heavily loaded with symbolism and as a consequence has a lot more satirical bite – it’s much sharper and closer to the bone than Fantoni’s and Brine’s warmer portrayals.
Research Point Project 3.1
The 1751 satirical engravings of Beer Street and Gin Lane were part of a campaign to curb gin drinking among the poor in London.
Research Point Questions
How has Hogarth has used denotation and connotation? What has he shown literally through denotation to support his anti-gin/pro-beer argument and what is implied through connotation? Think about the visual language and symbolic structure he has used to construct meaning – for example, the use of buildings in good repair or disuse, what’s in the foreground and what’s in the distance. What about the pawnbroker’s symbol and the symbolism in the physical language of the human body – the gestures, poses, sizes? There’s even a dead body in there somewhere. How does Hogarth use these to construct meaning?
In the anti-gin image the eye is drawn particularly to the drunkennes of the woman in the centre and her falling baby – one assumes this is more shocking than the wasted thin man in the bottom right (who probably also has a neglected baby at home). The line of the woman’s body leads the eye to the brawling and coffin in the background. In the middle ground are three figures one of whom is eating bones – this is emphasised through contrasting the white figure against his black hat. The pawnbroker’s shop seems to be doing a brisk trade.
In contrast most of the figures in the beer image are jolly portly men. The woman has a fish trade and is only stopping off temporarily – it seems she is even reading – with her husband? The pawnbroker’s sign is broken and the door shut. The background is festive and orderly.