My work focuses on subverting readymade images from the “golden age” of print media using cut-and-paste collage techniques.
Through a process of meticulous slicing, trimming, clipping, fragmenting, rearranging and layering, each collage starts with images unreal in their origin (staged photos from decades-old advertisements and advertorials; public relations posing as news; the Hollywood screen kiss; fashion photography; the pristine landscape) and works to upend the original intentions of the source material, changing it from something mundane into something beautiful, surreal, and grotesque.
Utilizing clean lines, balanced compositions, and seamless construction, faces and human figures are often removed, replaced, or covered with geological formations, various flora, or other fragments of human forms. Landscapes are often segmented and rearranged to set a new horizon line or focal point.
I’m drawn to the immediacy and tactile nature of collage. Collage is magic in the way that it can connect the past with the present.
It's impossible not to feel connected to a bygone era when you spend hours pouring over 100-year-old publications. Collage is all about recycling, reinterpreting, and reprocessing our collective printed past.
There's also something cathartic about stripping images down to their simplest forms and then building them back up again.
Collage is a place to put my anxieties and fears, to exercise control over the world itself, and to brush back the overwhelming digital crush of apps and push notifications and social media rants and constant news and updates and marketing messages and images upon images upon images.
Collage reclaims a small part of my pre-digital brain and gives order to a self-created chaos.
- Stephen Knezovich