Charles Wilkin and Collage Fortunes


Charles Wilkin and the Triumphs and Troubles of Collage

“Charles Wilkin has done for collage what Andy Warhol did for screen printing,” said Kolaj Magazine Editor Ric Kasini Kadour. “That is to say, he took a relatively obscure art medium and showed us how powerful a tool it can be.” It was April 2003. Gestalten published a monograph of Charles Wilkin’s artwork. The publisher wrote at the time, “Through his emotive use of discarded paper media, found objects, typography and splendid colour palettes, Index-A documents Charles’ intrinsic and informal connecting of art, graphic design and the human experience. His radical re-workings of the familiar deconstruct the rhetorical line between fine art and graphic design, relying on intuition rather than expectation while reassembling it into anything from Op-Art to Fluxus, from Panton to Punk.” At the same time, an exhibition of his collage, drawings and photography was held at The Riviera Gallery in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

“Charles Wilkin is one of the artists that has shaped contemporary collage as we know it. Index-A is one of the milestones that showed the possibilities the medium had to an insane amount of people worldwide 15 years ago, instantly converting people to collage making. But he hasn’t stopped there, his work has continually evolved, developing a unique style full of rhythm, beauty and challenging ideas,” said Max Tuja, Co-Founder of The International Weird Collage Show.

Index-A helped to bring collage into the mainstream. More importantly, the book was a source of inspiration to collage artists. We are pleased to welcome this artist to Kolaj Fest New Orleans where Kadour will interview Wilkin about living in the moment, Barbie Fashion Plates, photography, image making, beekeeping, and, most importantly, the triumphs and troubles of collage.

“As an artist and a curator, Charles has incredible insight on the medium of collage,” said Kadour. “He has first-hand experience of advocating for this medium.

In addition to being featured at one of the Daily Collage Congresses, Wilkin will conduct “Fortune Collage Project, The Perceptive Reading of Paper Scraps.” In this performative art piece, the artist makes a spontaneous collage using materials selected by a participant. “A willing participant selects an envelope of their choice,” explains Wilkin. “I ask why they selected it, open it and begin making a collage in front of them. As I collage, I will ask additional questions to help guide my collage making.” Each performance takes about ten minutes or less and the participant takes the collage home with them as a reminder of the conversation and a document of the experience.

Kolaj Fest New Orleans is a multi-day festival and symposium about contemporary collage and its role in art, culture, and society, July 12-15, 2018. Visit the website to learn more, see an overview of the program, and register to attend.

About Charles Wilkin

Charles Wilkin is a paper collage and assemblage artist who’s been making collages since about 1989, when he fell into collage by accident after being late for a drawing class in college. Since then, his work has been shown and published around the world. In 2003, Gestalten published Index-A, a 160-page monograph of his collage and photographic works. His work is a loose collection of thoughts and observations in many ways and less about one specific theme. He views it as a reflection of the world we live in, with all its ugliness and cruelty. Wilkin splits his time between his studios in Brooklyn, New York and in the Catskills. See more at

Images (top to bottom):
A Thousand Times (10.5″x8″; paper collage; 2017)
Page spread from Index-A (Gestalten; 2003)