My collages explore the deconstruction and reconstruction of images. The process allows me to play conceptually with a theme or thought. By deconstructing the original reality of an image, I can begin to let it tell a different story. Once I find my visual starting point, I will start a process of deconstruction/reconstruction, combining the use of ripping, cutting, layering, juxtaposition and, at times, the labourious task of stitching.
The use of stitching and thread has, over the past few years, started to play a more dominant role in my collage process and final outcomes. When in the past I may have used blocks of coloured paper, these have been replaced with thread and stitched elements. For me, it creates a quality of depth which is symbolically charged not only in the end result but in the act of making.
My work draws deeply on my own experiences and society in general, both past and present. It seeks to explore the sense of unknowing in a constantly shifting world. Multi-layered images arise which dwell on the fragility and instability exposed when old certainties are questioned. I am interested in exploring the hidden and murky sides of life, yet attempting to maintain a poetic quality. Every element that is placed has a symbolic purpose in relation to the whole. At times my work may appear dark, but I always strive to include a sense of hope.
Rhed Fawell is a collagist and printmaker from London, who now lives in Edinburgh.
I studied Fine Art at Middlesex University in London and then spent a year at Cooper Union School of Art, New York. I also taught at the Kent Institute of Art and Design and then, for many years, was a Senior Lecturer on the Graphics BA course at Middlesex University. I have exhibited my work extensively in both group and solo shows. I have also shown in various London galleries, elsewhere in the UK and, internationally, in Lisbon.
I founded and actively run Edinburgh Collage Collective, which was set up in 2016. ECC is a not-for-profit Art Collective. The aim of the collective is to create a network of collage artists, both locally and globally, to support each other, share ideas and promote interest in an area we all feel passionate about.
Recently, through Edinburgh Collage Collective, I organised a successful global exhibition. Through an open call, ECC invited collage artists from across the globe to submit a piece of work using the envelope as inspiration. ECC received over 130 submissions and mounted an exhibition in both Edinburgh and Stirling.
In 2016, my collage work was published in Making the Cut: Volume 1 (Crooks Creative, 2016). Making the Cut is an inspirational survey of today’s leading practicing collage and mixed media artists. I was honoured to recently be selected and featured in Rapsodia-Arts and Literature Magazine #16. Summer 2017 (Beautiful Monsters). I divide my time working in my studio developing my own creative practice alongside the ongoing development and growth of Edinburgh Collage Collective.
My influences are widespread. I studied Fine Art and Cultural Studies, but then taught on a Graphic Design degree course, so I have a real passion for both art and design. I have been inspired by the DADA movement, Russian Constructivism and the Bauhaus. I admire the work of the American photographer and documentary filmmaker Robert Frank. I have also developed a passion for layout, grids and structure alongside Swiss typography and designers like Jan Tschichold and Josef Müller-Brockmann. Therefore, in terms of collage, my influences include Hannah Höch, John Stezaker, Max Ernst, Peter Kennard, Matthew Rose, Martha Rosler and Katrien De Blauwer.