Collage Games Artist Residency

Collage Games Artist Residency

16-20 September 2024, New Orleans

A week-long, in-person residency in which artists will explore how to adapt their collage practice to game design or incorporate games and play as a theme in their artwork.

Virtual Sessions: Monday, 26 August 2024, 4-6PM EDT and Monday, 9 September 2024, 4-6PM EDT

In-Person: 10AM on Monday, 16 September to 4PM on Friday, 20 September 2024

Deadline to Apply: Sunday, 18 August 2024
Submissions will be reviewed on a rolling basis until space is filled. Artists are encouraged to apply well before the deadline.

Play is a critical part of being human. Play is how we try new things, discover new skills, and incorporate new ways of being. Play can also reinforce social bonds and bring us into community with others. As Mr. Rogers explained, “It’s the things we play with and the people who help us play that make a great difference in our lives.” For artists, play is serious business, an integral part of the creative process. In the mid-1920s, European Surrealists met in cafes and played collaborative drawing and collage games like Exquisite Corpse. Mel Gooding writes, in the introduction to Alastair Brotchie’s A Book of Surrealist Games: “The Surrealists initiated the most radically liberating critique of reason of the century. Their brilliant investigations were conducted through art and polemic, manifesto and demonstration, love and politics. But most specially and remarkably, it was through games, play, techniques of surprise and methodologies of the fantastic that they subverted academic modes of enquiry, and undermined the complacent certainties of the reasonable and respectable. Playful procedures and systematic stratagems provided keys to unlock the door to the unconscious and to release the visual and verbal poetry of collective creativity.”

Kolaj Institute sees games as both a tool for artist development and a strategy that can be used to share one’s artwork with their communities. “We can think of board and card games as works of art in and of themselves,” wrote Kolaj Institute Director Ric Kasini Kadour. “Goal setting and rule making create a micro-cosmology that combined with strong visual elements set a stage for people to come together and play with one another. Using collage to make games is a brilliant use of the medium and one that can bring an artist’s work to new communities.”

The Games Artists Play by Ric Kasini Kadour.
15″x11″; collage; 2022. Courtesy of the artist.

In The Tale of Genji, 11th-century Japanese noblewoman and lady-in-waiting Murasaki Shikibu wrote about the leisurely lives of Emperor Kiritsubo’s courtiers. Among their pastimes was kai-awase, a simple game played with painted clam shells. The goal was to find the matching shells. The game had been around a few centuries by the time of Shikibu’s writing and the shells became artistic endeavors themselves, luxuriously painted and adorned with gold. An 18th-century set in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art shows scenes from Shikibu’s writing. We mention this to underscore the long history of art and games. From the block-printed, 15th-century Mamluk cards in Egypt to nature artist Catherine Hamilton’s painterly board game Evolution, the game has been a place for art.

Whether we’re talking about board games, video games, or tabletop roleplaying games, the gaming world has always been intrinsically linked with art. Art is sometimes the first thing someone sees or notices about a game before purchasing and playing it. Designing the box the game comes in, the cards used, the 3D renderings of landscapes and characters, and even the dice. All of these things pass through an artist’s hands at one point or another. But for the most part, the medium has had its roots in drawing and painting. “Collage is there if you look for it,” writes Kolaj Institute Coordinator Christopher Kurts. “Sometimes in the process or the presentation, rarely ever in the mechanics of the game itself. But I think now is the perfect time to infect the gaming world with collage.” Wizards of the Coast, the company that owns Magic the Gathering and Dungeons & Dragons, has recently come under fire for using AI to replace its artists. What better way to subvert this trend than to introduce collage to the ecosystem of games? 

Current gaming culture is already moving in the direction of more art-focused materials. You can find apps that use collage to create games, like Downpour and Landing. Lyric games like We Are But Worms: A One Word RPG, in which the concept is more important than playability, are gaining steam. Zines have been a staple of tabletop roleplaying games since the 70s, with pages packed full of art and ideas to inspire the game master. Modern games like Mork Borg are pushing the boundaries between layout, art, and game design. Authors are using public domain images to illustrate their games, which is in sync with the collage artists’ ethos. 

Tic Tac Toe by Fanclub13. Courtesy of the artist.

Games are an incredible tool for storytelling, worldbuilding, and social engagement. In this residency, we will explore the history of collage and games, gaming and play as a theme for artwork, and brainstorm and workshop our ideas together. We will have dedicated time for playtesting them with each other as well as with gamers who are not artists in order to get feedback from varied sources. We will talk about collage as art assets and illustrations for games, games that use collage as a mechanic, and game diffusion models. 

Christopher Kurts will lead the residency. He is a board game enthusiast and has been running, playing, and creating his own tabletop roleplaying games for almost 30 years. Recently, he ran Collage Game Night at Kolaj Fest New Orleans 2024, a live event that satirized competition in the arts while centering play and fun in art making and collaboration. He is also working on his own tabletop roleplaying game that uses collage as a core mechanic and is always looking for collaborators. “I’m hoping that through this residency we can build a like-minded community of artists that want to create a movement of collage in game design that isn’t just hidden in the background. I want designers to declare loudly, this is a collage game!” 

We are looking for artists who either want to create their own game that relies heavily on collage, create collage that is meant to illustrate a game, or create artwork that uses games and play as a central theme. Artists will leave the residency with a plan for finishing and distributing their games or artwork. At Kolaj Fest New Orleans 2025 residency artists will be invited to debut their games.

WHO IS THIS FOR?

Collage Games Artist Residency is an in-person residency in New Orleans, Louisiana USA centered on collage artists who want to develop their artist practice around games. Residencies are intended for self-motivated artists, regardless of the stage in their career, who want to develop their practice by exploring a topic or working method and collaborating with others to produce a final product and who want to develop a practice of working within the context of street art to create and present art that embeds itself in non-traditional spaces.

Residencies are open to any artist over the age of 21 from anywhere in the world. We look for artists who have a developed sense of practice (even if it is an emerging one) and those who have a strong connection to a community.

COST

The cost of the residency is $750 USD. A limited number of grants are available in order to offset the fee and reduce barriers to participation to those with a demonstrated financial need. We cannot offer financial aid to cover travel, lodging or food costs.

All travel to and from New Orleans, as well as food and lodging, are the sole responsibility of the artist.

HOW TO APPLY

Submit your application HERE.

RESIDENCY LOGISTICS

Collage Games Artist Residency will have two Virtual Sessions (Monday, 26 August, 4-6PM EDT & Monday, 9 September, 4-6PM EDT).

Beginning on Monday, August 26th, and continuing until the in-person sessions commence, there will be a WhatsApp chat where artists can exchange links, engage with discussion topics, and plan their projects for the upcoming in-person meetings.

In-person activities take place at Kolaj Institute, 2374 Saint Claude Avenue, Suite 230, starting at 10AM, Monday, 16 September to 4PM, Friday, 20 September. 

Participating artists will have 24-hour access to the space during the residency. 

Kolaj Institute stocks general collage-making materials such as cutting mats, scissors, a variety of glues, substrates, and books and magazines. If an artist wishes to use specific materials they may be shipped in advance to the Kolaj Institute Studio & Gallery.

APPLICATION PROCESS

The submission process asks applicants for:

• Contact information
• Artist or Writer Bio (50-250 words)
• Statement of Artist or Writer Practice (50-300 words)
• 5-7 images of artwork
• Statement of expectations
• Asks questions about your work and needs

QUESTIONS

If you have questions, send an email.


FACULTY

Christopher Kurts is a storyteller and artist in New Orleans, Louisiana. He is the Coordinator for Kolaj Institute, where he has organized artist labs, residencies, workshops, and forums which have often led to exhibitions and publications. In this role, Kurts acted as the Art Director for Kolaj Institute’s Oh, Money! Money! by Eleanor H. Porter, illustrated and interpreted by contemporary collage artists. Kurts is also the co-founder and lead organizer for the Mystic Krewe of Scissors and Glue, a group of creatives in New Orleans who meet monthly to collage, converse, and foster community. Along with the Krewe, Kurts helped organize the inaugural Paper Parade in January 2024, a Mardi Gras walking parade devoted to collage. His own work recently appeared in the exhibition, “Sewage & Water Board Billing Issues: Collage by New Orleans Artists” which debuted in June 2024 during the Kolaj Fest in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA. christopherkurts.com