The process of combining images and texts together to create a new narrative can be a rock in the middle of the road. Luckily, Jo Parkin’s packs dynamite with her. Based in Sydney, she creates only analog collages and allows herself to freely construct new realities without having a strict guide or style to stick with.
Having an eye for detail, her art holds relevance and fits with modern aesthetics without disrespecting the original artists. Through hundreds of cut ups and a lengthy revision process, her work tends to lean towards a subtle nostalgia, mixing historical statues, skeletons and nature to create a sensation of innocence and mystery.
Hi, my name is Jo Parkin and l live in the inner west Suburbs of Sydney. l’m a Analog Collage Artist and Prop Maker; The typical 9 to 5 job.
How would you describe your style?
l’m not sure if l have a particular style with my collage art work, l feel like l am still developing my style. My artwork tends to lead me into different directions all the time as l work through the processes of making it. In saying all that, l do however only hand cut the images with either scissors/scalpel and then glue to assemble the artwork. Stylistically, l seem to use a lot of fluro yellow and circles a lot of the time.
What inspires you?
l find inspiration in a lot of different processes and observations. It could be through other artists work or finding that one perfect image or a quote that sparks a thousand ideas.
Does each piece have their own narrative?
Yes and no. Some of my collage pieces are pure and simply random images that are living together on a blank sheet of paper. Other collage pieces are thought out and are an attempt at social observation and commentary on something l have been thinking about.
Where do you source your materials?
l find my materials in a variety of ways, rummaging through Charity Shops, Second-hand book shops/fairs or my favourite, the books people discard or leave on the streets.
Take us through the creative thought process of a piece. How do you decide what to keep, and what to ditch?
The creative process is a bit random, it could be by simply looking through my source materials until certain images or details might catch my attention and will spark an idea. Or l might have read something or heard a quote that l want to explore in a visual way. The Selection process of the imagery of what to keep and what to discard is purely based on the image alone. There always seems to be a connection within the images, even though they are random at the start, they somehow appeal to me and come together with what l’m trying to communicate. l also like the speed at which a artwork can be realised, a simple adding or subtracting a image can create something wonderful.
Why do you think people are taking an interest in collaging?
The nature of collage is a tactile process. It has a certain appeal to just about anyone. Collage can be made on the kitchen table or in art studio plus you don’t need much equipment to get started, scissors, glue and images. Maybe it’s the process of creating or simply the accessibility that collaging offers.
Do you think it’s kind of a romantic process cutting and pasting a collection of images together to create something completely new?
Yes, l do feel there is a type of romance you have with the images you find and select. You spend a lot of time searching for the perfect images that go seamless together. l tend to store images for ages until the right combination comes along. The romance comes from finding a perfect and genuine fit of both images and idea.
Has anyone doubted your reputation as an artist?
No, not that l’m aware of if they have. The only one who questions this is me. l’m always questioning my work. Is it working? Is it clear? And is it interesting? Etc etc.
Have you had any copyright infringement scares with your work?
No, l try very hard to only use images that are in the public domain. l have researched lots of issues around copyright for artists and make sure l know what is permitted to use. Copyright is a big complicated issue and all artists should be aware of its implication. l recently finished reading ” Beg, Steal and Borrow – artist against originality by Robert Shore, which has an interesting take on copyright from different artist around the world.
Who are some of your inspirations?
l have variety of artist l like but to name a few; Beardsley, Fiona Hall, Egon Schiele, Jiri Kolat, Miss.printed, Kensuke Keike and Francis Bacon.
What opportunities have you received from collaging?
Opportunities have came in strange and wonderful ways. Firstly, the unexpected friendship with other collage artists around the world and the opportunity to become a member of The Collage Club, a group of international collage artists. I’ve had my artwork published in the Annual Collage Collective Co Publication in 2016 and more recently, with Little Sister Zine. I’ve been fortunate enough to participate in a couple of group exhibitions: The Scandinavian Collage Museum Exhibition 2017 and Glue in that same year. In 2018, I got to participate in an Exhibition with Edinburgh Collage Collective called Vinylism aswell Collage Garden Initiative which held exhibitions in Netherlands, New York City and Russia. I’ve also have been asked to do record covers for a band.
To see the rest of Jo Parkin’s work, go follow her Instagram
Cover image and Inset by Jo Parkin.