I was lucky enough to attend a workshop given by illustrator, Hanoch Piven, (www.pivenworld.com) last Tuesday, at the Society of Illustrators in New York. Mr. Piven creates striking yet simple images with objects and is well-known for his celebrity and pop culture caricatures.
The evening began with a brief slide show of his portfolio examples, famous collages from art history, and art created in previous workshops. Meanwhile, all of us were salivating over the long supply table in the center of the room, which was loaded with a plethora of objects and ephemera that we would soon be using for our collage pieces. There were sewing notions, sequins, old tools, construction paper, dead light bulbs, feathers, buttons, jewelry parts, odds-and-ends; all kinds of things, as well as glue guns for assembling our masterpieces.
Our challenge was to focus on the items available to us and “let the objects guide you” as to what our final “drawing” would become, and to play around with and manipulate the objects until we found some inspiration from them. Mr. Piven stressed that we were “drawing with objects,” and not choosing items from the table based on a preconceived idea for an image. If we needed a specific concept to get started with he said it was alright to work with the idea of a face or portrait.
I brought all kinds of things back to my table but I soon found myself playing with a zipper. When I unzipped it half way, it looked like a pair of legs running. I decided this was not enough to base my image on but I was loving the “legginess” and thought that if I had more zippers, maybe I could make an animal with more than two legs… maybe an octopus? Luckily I found enough zippers to create 8 legs. After playing around will all of these some more, I discovered that a squid would be best, considering the available materials.
To finish, I cut the head out of paper and made a hole for the eye to poke through. I used the round part of a kazoo, which I had with me since we had been instructed to bring some of our own objects to use. I added a silver, plastic arrow with a feather glued on to represent a harpoon that the squid is fleeing from.
And here is how it turned out:
I was very impressed with how quickly all of the collages came together. We only had about an hour and a half to work, then a half hour to assemble and glue everything down before the display and critique at the close of the evening. I had a great time figuring out what I was going to make and really got into that creative “zone” while I arranged everything. It just made me feel lucky to be an artist. The great thing is, is that anyone can give this method a try and see what you come up with. I hope you’ll be as surprised and pleased as I was with the outcome!
An assistant was taking photos of the collages, so I will hopefully be able to post a link with more pictures from the workshop, there were many amazing results.