KOCHI: For most of us, the word ‘collage’ evokes memories of crafting. Spending hours with the scrap book deciding which picture goes where and what quote would be the most appropriate was a favourite childhood pastime for many. However, in the realm of art, collages can be bizarre, uncanny, surreal, dreamlike, psychedelic and even provocative manifestations of the artist’s imaginations and ideas. Collage artists through the decades have juxtaposed seemingly incongruous images together to highlight that the world we live in, is either way too strange or not strange enough.
Shoranur- native Renjith Vijayan stumbled upon collage art a little over four years ago through artists he followed on Instagram. He found the technique of dissecting a picture and using it to make something entirely different fascinating. “Initially, people who saw me cutting and gluing pictures called the process stupid. But I kept going as the idea of producing a new image from an existing one is really interesting and surprising to me,” says Renjith.
Taking a cue from the perplexing reality surrounding him, Renjith curates thousands of images to come up with a single frame. He places a deer in front of a raging tide, puts a rusted nail on a moon, conjures a cheetah’s head on a girl and even gives human hands to a statue by layering various elements and textures to his eclectic but engrossing compositions.
“Every time I make a collage, it is like a revelation. I don’t have any premeditated idea of how the final work is going to turn out. I cut out an image I find interesting and put it together with another one. Usually I start with a background image that would act as the landscape or canvas for my work. After that, I add the first element—it may be a building or a person or an animal. I keep on adding layers of cutouts or characters till I am satisfied or until my instinct tells me it is complete,” says Renjith who is also a graphic designer.
The 31-year-old prefers to work with scanned copies of vintage images available on the internet. He scours through the public domain archives of prominent publications. “I also use photos clicked by me or by my friends.” Renjith who now primarily makes digital work on Photoshop or other applications on his phone started off as an analog collage artist cutting pictures from newspapers and magazines.
“Although analog collages are more tedious and take longer to finish, I find them more exciting than digital. While doing analog, my resources are limited as I can only source from magazines at my disposal.
But this method really tests your creativity. If I don’t find the image I have in mind, I go in a completely different direction and the finished work is both surprising and satisfying,” adds Renjith. Hoping to exhibit his works in future, Renjith is working on a series of analog collages on postcards for the same. You can find Renjith’s art on Instagram @samurai_pokkan.