Hanoch Piven shares his top tips for reinventing the meaning of everyday objects through collage
Mixed media artist Hanoch Piven (@piven) creates playful portraits that have appeared in Time, Newsweek, Rolling Stone, The Atlantic Monthly, The Times, Entertainment Weekly, and more. Known for his 3-dimensional collages, he reinvents the meaning and use of everyday objects–from clothes pegs and playing cards to fruit and bathroom products–to visually communicate personality and playfulness.
1) More is MORE!!
The more stuff you have around you, the more exciting the possibilities you open yourself up to are. Gather A LOT of stuff. You won’t use it all, but you need quantity in order to find quality!
2) Let go!
Don't start working with a preconceived idea of what you want to do.
Accept that it is fine NOT to know what you’re doing, at least at the beginning. Keep your options open. You’ll soon have a great idea.
3) Have FAITH
Let the materials guide you. Let them show you what they want to become. Don't worry. Eventually, you'll be in charge. You will ultimately make the big decisions yourself, but, for now, pay attention to what the objects are telling you.
4) Watch out for (GOOD) accidents.
Be aware of them. Look for them. Increase the chances of them happening. Sometimes all the artist has to do is notice a perfect coincidence.
5) Trial and Error
Keep trying different possible objects for the same area. The more you try the better your chances are of finding something great. It’s what scientists do.
6) Rome wasn't built in a day!
Don't worry if it looks awful! It is normal. Stay with it. It will improve! In order to make a really good collage, you need to go through these low points.
Just as in any story there is the main hero and there is a supporting cast, your artwork will have its starring role. That might be either an object or a theme or an idea. Make all the other pieces work for it and not against it. Some pieces are just pure 'extras' in the picture.
8) Stand up!
Yes. Work on your feet. The more dynamic you are and feel, the more energy you'll bring to the table. Because you're standing, you’ll be moving around and you'll be constantly looking at your work from a variety of angles.
9) Don't be easily satisfied.
Just when you think you have it. Think again. There might still be a better object to use. Try just one more option.
Playing is a part of any artistic activity. When making a collage using objects, play is essential. The more you play, the less self-conscious you'll be, and the more intuitively you'll act.
If you like Piven’s tips, be sure to check out his Domestika course, Creativity Face to Face: A Playful Collage Journey.
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- Challenge: Draw a Character in 5 Minutes Using Photoshop.
- 6 Tips for Starting Out as an Illustrator.
- How to Install New Brushes in Adobe Photoshop.