Project: Photomontage and collage – Artist research

I began this project with some artist’s research as I wasn’t overly familiar with the practice of Photomontage. I brainstormed a list of artists to look into in my sketchbook:

Artist Research ideas

Artist Research ideas

John Heartfield:

John heartfield’s photomontage work was mentioned in my course book so he seemed like a natural person to look into.

"The voice of freedom in the german night" 1937 by John Heartfield

“The voice of freedom in the german night” 1937 by John Heartfield

"Adolf the Superman Swallows Gold and Spouts Junk" 1932 by John Heartfield

“Adolf the Superman Swallows Gold and Spouts Junk” 1932 by John Heartfield

John Heartfield used the medium of Photomontage to react to the Nazi movement in Germany in the 1930’s-40’s. His images are powerful, often shocking but always cohesive. In the image above you can see how he’s used one shape to centralise the images and frame them. It reinforces his message very succinctly. The work can sometimes seem simple, but is actually complex in terms of layering of images to create a new whole image. His work often appears surrealist and shocking but that suits his message – he was unafraid to confront and challenge the evils of the Nazi movement.

Herbert Bayer

Worked as a Graphic Designer, producing covers for magazines such as Harpers Bazaar and working on comercial advertising:

herbert bayer harpers bazaar cover


You can see in the image above his use of framing through photomontage by using the butterfly spots to circle the ladies eye. His work often appeared clean and ordered, but I found an example of a more collage like format:

"Container corporation of America" Herbert Bayer

“Container corporation of America” Herbert Bayer

It looks a lot more sporadic and has more movement than other examples of his work. But I think he ties the poster together by using a lot of black and white with hints of colour. I think it’s a posture with a political agenda, as the quote is from President Theodore Roosevelt.

Sometimes however his work took a similar format to John Heartfield:

"Hands Act" - 1932 Herbert Bayer

“Hands Act” – 1932 Herbert Bayer

"Teutoburger Wald" 1926 by Herbert Bayer

“Teutoburger Wald” 1926 by Herbert Bayer

Oliver Jeffers: 

I wanted to find an example of an artist who works with photomontage or collage techniques in the present day and found Oliver Jeffers an interesting example.

Jeffers is well known for his children’s books and illustrative style but  also produces provoking fine art and some of this involves collage. It has a more humorous, tongue in cheek approach than Bayer or Heartfield but it still feels political.

'Sketchbook 4' by Oliver Jeffers

‘Sketchbook 4’ by Oliver Jeffers

"The Last Request" 2012 - paint and collage on found print by Oliver Jeffers

“The Last Request” 2012 – paint and collage on found print by Oliver Jeffers

"Dinner Collage" 2011 by Oliver Jeffers

“Dinner Collage” 2011 by Oliver Jeffers

Now the image below isn’t strictly a collage or photomontage. But I liked how he’d scribbled out the eyes of the lady to discuss the issue of how we see things. I wanted to keep this image in mind with regards to what I wanted to make a photomontage on.

"Seeing is Seeing pt.1" 2011 oil on canvas

“Seeing is Seeing pt.1” 2011 oil on canvas

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