An Artist’s History of Collage: Studio Course

An Artist’s History of Collage: Studio Course with Eric Hibit

An Artist’s History of Collage: Studio Course with Eric Hibit

Cost: $690.00

10 online sessions

Thursdays, October 1–December 10, skipping Thursday, November 26
6:30 PM–9:30 PM

Instructor: Eric Hibit

Before collage was “high art”, the art of gluing papers and other materials was practiced by self-taught makers. Collage has shaped major art movements of the 20th century (such as Dada, Surrealism, Pop), and a collage sensibility is evident in contemporary quilting, photography, painting, and activism (such as the AIDS Memorial Quilt). The history of collage is like a collage itself: a story made of vastly different parts, held together by their divergent nature.

In this combined art history / studio course  , weekly image presentations explore specific movements and artists from the history of collage. A studio assignment based on the presentation prompts students to explore related mediums, approaches, and techniques. Demonstrations on cutting, gluing, and working with water-based paints inform student’s work and teach how to construct a collage from scratch. Methods for working with process, composition, and the basics of design provide pathways for students to define and strengthen their individual voices.

Assignments are organized sequentially to build up fundamental skills with collage. Beginning with black and white, students move onto working with a range of value, and then color. Students produce collages with found paper, painted paper, and photographic images while exploring themes of their choice. The course culminates in final projects where students define interests, hone techniques, and integrate skills. Critiques build dialogue around student’s work and foster peer learning. The course is designed for analog work with actual papers, but students are welcome to work digitally. This course is open to students at all experience levels, from no prior experience to advanced.

Supply list
14" x 11" Bristol pad
 X-acto Knife
 X-acto replacement blades
 11" x 8.5" Cutting mat
 16 oz. matte medium
 Set of fluid acrylic paint
 12” ruler
 Pack of black construction paper
 UHU glue stick
 11 x 14” tracing paper
 Set of flat brushes
 Set of small brushes

Class #1
Collage before collage: Mary Delany, Tinsel Painting, Silhouettes
Assignment: Black and white collages
Create a series of collages in black and white paper. Trace household objects and cut with X-acto blades. Explore possible compositions with the cut outs, including the negative space from which the trace was cut.
Techniques and concepts: intro to cutting and gluing, tracing, positive/negative space

Class #2
Early collage: Braque and PIcasso
Assignment: Still Life collage
Trace everyday objects on papers toned with pencil. Select pieces of found paper in neutral tones such as beiges, browns, greys. Glue paper as a background; use cut-outs to render a still-life.
Techniques and concepts: working with pencil, value, background/foreground, composition

Class #3
DADA and collage: Kurt Schwitters, Hannah Hoch, Raoul Hausmann, George Grosz, Otto Dix
Assignment: Photomontage (2-week assignment)
The technique of photomontage results in playful (and sometimes shocking) incongruence. Cut images from found magazines, books, or prints (or work digitally) for photomontage.
Techniques and concepts: choosing source materials, tips for precise cutting and gluing, scale

Class #4
Surrealism / Pop Art: Max Ernst, Richard Hamilton, Eduardo Paolozzi
Assignment: Photomontage continued: Dreamscapes of the real (?) world
Collages of the Surrealists and British Pop Artists use elements of the known world, re-contextualized in unreal ways. Richard Hamilton’s important 1956 collage “Just What Is It That Makes Today’s Home So Different, So Appealing” is both real and unreal. What is your understanding of real/unreal?

Class #5
Painted paper: Collages of Matisse
Assignment: Living forms collage with painted paper (2-week assignment)
Dilute acrylic paint with varying degrees of water to create a range of color saturation. Add black, grey, and white to primary and secondary colors to create shades, tones, tints. This painted paper in the fodder for a collage. Working from a photo of living forms (such as fruit, vegetables, flowers) trace shapes for cutting. Techniques and concepts: working with acrylics, tracing, basic color theory, brushstroke, glazing

Class #6
Living forms collage, continued

Class #7
Décollage and Assemblage: Mimmo Rotella, Carol Rama
Assignment: Urban surfaces
The city itself could be thought of as a massive collage, collection of diverge surfaces abutting each other. New and old, pristine and decayed, rough and smooth: surfaces tell stories  . Make a collage that uses urban surfaces as a springboard, in any materials: 

- Photograph surfaces and make prints to collage
- use surfaces as inspiration for exploring different ways to create texture with acrylic paint
- use found materials

Class # 8
Impulses in Contemporary Collage
Final Project(s): select materials / techniques / approaches to work with independently
Choice #1: Commemoration Collage
Make a collage inspired by the art of quilting, which often involves commemoration / celebration /
remembrance.
Choice #2: Exploring narrative with collage
Choose a narrative from history, fiction, or personal experience. Alternately, gather elements from a narrative and “write” it as you make the collage. The narrative does not have to be illustrated per se;  it may be evoked, pointed to, reflected upon, and/or expressed in abstract terms.
Choice #3: Self-defined project
Propose a self-defined project, involving and media.

Class #9
Continue with Final Project(s)

Class #10
Final Review

Course Code: COL20

Instructor(s): Eric Hibit

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.