Collage is about building a visual moment that can travel through time and speak several different ideas all at once. And all I need to make a collage is a glue stick, penknife, and a few random materials. As a printmaker and someone who enjoys making experimental works on paper, I find collage to be a highly elastic technique. Its basic conventions and simple methods for building visual stories can often lead me to more complex visual ideas.
I use collage as part of my studio practice because it offers a quick entry point into visual concepts. At its most basic, collage is a lot like taking notes or doodling with paper shapes and patterns. As a practice, collage offers a dynamic range of possibilities that allows the novice and expert to easily wander in and out of different genres.
Ian Cross was born in Fairfax, Virginia. He completed his university education at The Ohio State University where he received an MFA in printmaking in 2004.
Throughout his career, the exploration of collage as a method for image-making can be seen in almost all the images and objects that come out of the IC Works On Paper studio. Ian’s collage techniques often reveal that the artist embraces the mass production of ready-made colors, images, textures, and the endless symbols of manufactured culture.
“Collage is essentially a highly elastic drawing tool,” Cross says. “My creative habits have always been about drawing as a writing process, so collage for me is about the variety of materials that lead me to find a poetic device. This is a visual moment that I want to be invented and collage is the best way for me to take that detour and to use image-making as a way toward creative invention instead of retracing old tropes.”
This fundamental use of collage as a drawing instrument is easy to read when one starts to view the catalog of experimental prints and works on paper. Whether it is printmaking, paper folding, and drawing constructions being done as singular artworks or a combination of these techniques. You can see the aesthetic curiosity for the invention of collage as one of the constant threads guiding and holding these other disciplines together. All the prints, drawings, and constructed paper pieces owe much to collage as an immersive concept and practice that is woven into the artwork.