Collaging at Home with Maya Hodge



[00:00:11] [Soft Music]

[00:00:27] Hi, I'm Maya.

[00:00:27] I'm a proud Lardil and Yangkaal woman, 
I am a multidisciplinary artist and I am a performer as well.

[00:00:36] Before I start, I'd like to acknowledge the traditional people 
on whose land I am now teaching you at home.

[00:00:43] I'm on the lands of the Woiwurrung,

[00:00:45] Wurundjeri and Boon wurrung people of the Kulin nations.

[00:00:48] And I pay my respects to 
their elders, past, present and emerging.

[00:00:52] I would like to acknowledge the thousands 
of years of art-making on this land.

[00:00:58] And I'm very honoured to be here  
to teach you guys today.

[00:01:06] So a little bit more about my practice: 

[00:01:08] I have recently been getting quite into collaging.

[00:01:13] I think it's a great thing that 
is quite accessible to do at home.

[00:01:17] And I've been playing around 
with it for a while now,

[00:01:21] And I think it's a really interesting way of combining 
different images together to make a whole new meaning.

[00:01:28] And sometimes it can be quite political,  
pretty staunch, which is why I'm so drawn to it.

[00:01:35] I'm also a painter and a violinist.

[00:01:39] And I'm a curator, as well.

[00:01:41] I grew up in the country.

[00:01:43] The only art classes I did were at school 
and I didn't have a lot of access to 

[00:01:51] the amazing facilities that Melbourne does,

[00:01:54] so I think that's why Collaging is a great way to 
start exploring and pushing the boundaries of your

[00:02:02] artistic practice, because you can 
use literally anything you want.

[00:02:07] You can make any cutouts,  
any text as well.

[00:02:14] For example, the one that I have 
here is pretty staunch.

[00:02:19] It leans 
towards my own morals and values.

[00:02:23] And I think as young people, and as artists 
as well, we we are the voices of the future.

[00:02:32] Whatever you're making at home, whatever you're 
producing, you should go for it.

[00:02:39] I think that's why cutting up images and making them into something else is an extension of what you believe. 

[00:02:50] And I think that's pretty clear 
in the collage that I did. [Chuckles]

[00:02:55] I like to think I'm not quite as vocal per se in 
my politics and in my circles,

[00:03:03] But with my art it comes out quite strongly.

[00:03:07] So I think that's why art and your expression as a young 

[00:03:12] and as a person whose voice is important,  
I think collaging can come into play

[00:03:19] and really support what you're trying to say.

[00:03:21] [Soft Music]

[00:03:25] So what you'll need at home;

[00:03:28] I recommend National Geographic,  
they have some really amazing pictures

[00:03:34] and bits of writing as well.

[00:03:36] I encourage using text a lot in your work,  
because it gives a lot of context to

[00:03:41] What you're trying to point out in your work.

[00:03:46] Those are really good to use.

[00:03:48] You can also use fashion magazines because there's so much content to use. 

[00:03:54] A lot of colours and fabrics, and figures as well.

[00:03:57] I found these ones at Savers.  
It can be any op shop that you have near by. 

[00:04:03] It's good to recycle and use what you have instead of consuming and buying, and adding on to waste.

[00:04:10] Use up whatever you have, you can use letters and postcards, 
stickers, glitter, whatever you want to do at home.

[00:04:19] I also think that using a sheet music is quite cool.

[00:04:24] I think it gives a little bit more dynamic 
to what you are presenting in your work.

[00:04:31] Pencils, you can use watercolour,  
you can use natural materials,

[00:04:34] I have some gum leaves here.

[00:04:36] You can use anything you want to,  
which is the beauty of collage.

[00:04:39] Also what you will need is 
glue-stick and scissors, most importantly. 

[00:04:44] [Soft Music]

[00:04:48] I have drawn inspiration from many different collage artists. 
Some people that I recommend having a look at, are

[00:04:57] Sidney Nolan, who was one of the first 
Australian artists to get into collaging.

[00:05:02] So having a look at his work would be a good start.

[00:05:07] I also recommend Wangeshi Mutu who's an American artist.

[00:05:11] Her work is very deeply rooted in her black female identity.  
She cuts up the images making them quite subtle,

[00:05:23] But they hold such a strong message 
about womanhood and blackness and how she

[00:05:33] chooses to portray that in her work,

[00:05:37] So I really recommend her.

[00:05:40] Peter Waples Crowe is also a really amazing artist 
and someone who taught me how to collage.

[00:05:45] The reason why I got into collaging was because I 
attended one of his workshops at Signal

[00:05:53] And I was so inspired by the way that  
he uses a lot of colours and a lot of textures

[00:05:59] And how he uses his his black identity, 
as well as his queer identity.

[00:06:06] I was very inspired by how empowering his work is 
and how colourful and joyful it is,

[00:06:13] because, especially in my community, celebrating our joy  
and our pride is such an important thing.

[00:06:22] And that's why I attended his workshop and that's 
what got me into collaging in the first place.

[00:06:29] Another amazing Aboriginal artist  
who does collaging is Brook Andrew. 

[00:06:34] His work is very vibrant and would be  
a really great starting point to see

[00:06:41] How you can combine photomontage,

[00:06:46] Which is different to collaging, because  
photo montaging is about creating a narrative 

[00:06:52] instead of just being about the patterns and the colours.

[00:06:55] I think more of what I do is photomontage, however collaging is just a little bit more loosened and a bit more fun.

[00:07:06] So maybe start doing some photo montaging 
after you do some collaging. 

[00:07:10] [Soft Music]

[00:07:14] This collage piece is pretty staunch in its message,

[00:07:20] There is a multitude of different narratives  
happening in the one collage.

[00:07:25] It's not just one overall concept.

[00:07:28] It's about all these different issues that I hold 
close to my heart that are in this one piece of work.

[00:07:35] So, for example, the hand holding over the black woman with the 
other women,

[00:07:41] That speaks to my love for my tutors  
and the black women in my community

[00:07:47] And how we all hold each other up, and how we reach down 
and help one another when times are tough.

[00:07:54] For me community is such a big and important thing,  
that I wanted to honour that in this work.

[00:08:03] The older white man holding the world, 
I think is pretty self-explanatory.

[00:08:09] We live in quite a white patriarchal world and I feel a 
lot that my voice isn't heard as an Aboriginal woman.

[00:08:16] And I think for Aboriginal people around the world,  
our voices aren't heard as much as as we would like them to.

[00:08:23] So that's what I was speaking to 
in that particular section in the work.

[00:08:27] I guess my point in this is, 
try pushing those boundaries,

[00:08:35] And when you're making your work, what are you wanting 
to tell the rest of the world, 

[00:08:42] Or The rest of your community or 
maybe your family? Your friends?

[00:08:47] What are you wanting to tell them?

[00:08:49] That's what I really think about when I'm making my work.

[00:08:52] It's for a purpose, it's for a 
certain message that I'm trying to send out.

[00:08:58] And start from just trying it out,  
having some fun with it.

[00:09:05] The messages will come out as you're making your collage.

[00:09:11] The other work that I have here, I created in 
my Signal workshop with roughly around ten other young people

[00:09:18] saying that you see guys at home, and 
they were just an amazing group of people.

[00:09:23] And we all had about five minutes to cut out 
some work in, five minutes to stick down, whatever.

[00:09:30] And this idea came to me mainly because 
of my own standpoint as a black woman. 

[00:09:38] [Soft music]

[00:09:47] So I've got my National Geographic's here and I'm just 
ripping out some pages of the different colours,

[00:09:56] patterns and textures, and that's how I'm going to start 
the base of my work.

[00:10:03] Instead of going in with a specific idea,  
although it's great to have your theme and an ideas ready to go,

[00:10:11] but if you just flip through the pages and rip out or cut 
up anything that stands out to you,

[00:10:16] that'll be my first go to.

[00:10:26] I usually tend to try and find some figures that are 
interesting or stand out to me the most.

[00:10:39] This one is actually really amazing. It's a  
Native American cowgirl, which I think is perfect for what

[00:10:47] my work is centred around: 
Aboriginality and celebrating joy, 

[00:10:55] and interesting stories in Aboriginal communities.

[00:11:03] Just going to try to get a few more  
so I can start layering.

[00:11:11] A good idea is with the bold fonts, where usually the titles are,

[00:11:18] sometimes I like to put them aside just in case they 
pop out to me with the rest of the images

[00:11:26] and what kind of concept I can play with.

[00:11:33] You can even try and find different paragraphs,  
if it relates to your idea, as well.

[00:11:41] Otherwise, if images are what you are into, 
then you don't have to use text.

[00:11:46] Oh! This is... 

[00:11:50] That's my aunty, actually. 

[00:11:54] That's so funny!

[00:11:57] I like to get some interesting backgrounds that I 
can place people into. It changes the whole dynamic

[00:12:07] of what the image was originally used for,  
which I think is really nice to play around around with.

[00:12:16] Really professional stock; magazines 
like this one, which is interior design.

[00:12:24] I like to separate my figures,

[00:12:31] my backgrounds, and my text as well. 
Make sure that's all nice and neat 

[00:12:41] so you don't lose track.  
And it's always good to clean as you go,

[00:12:45] because otherwise your mum will be  
yelling at you to clean up. [Laughs]

[00:12:49] So sorry, mums, if there're lots 
of paper everywhere, I apologise.

[00:12:54] But collaging. This is how we do it.

[00:12:58] It's nice to just get a clean piece of paper 
ready before you start sticking down things and gluing.

[00:13:08] Have a look at what you have around you and just 
start piecing together what you could possibly use.

[00:13:15] You don't have to do it for one big piece.

[00:13:16] You could save what you've ripped out 
of your pages for another collage.

[00:13:23] So what I would recommend is getting a folio book, 
that way you can keep your collages together.

[00:13:31] It's one rule that I need to stick,  because 
all my collages end up all around the place, 

[00:13:37] with different people and back home in Mildura.

[00:13:40] So I get a folio. A nice big one is a good idea,

[00:13:44] but if you if you just like to keep 
a small visual diary, then that's a good idea too.

[00:13:50] So you can start figuring out...

[00:13:58] What you want to work with. A nice little tip as well,  
is you can rip your pages, as well.

[00:14:05] They don't have to be perfect.  

[00:14:07] I actually like a lot of my work to look a little bit messy,

[00:14:11] A little bit nice and raw.

[00:14:14] Try that at home.  
You can rip it, you can tear it.

[00:14:18] You can also get different scissors that have 
different shapes on them, so you can try those.

[00:14:25] And just start cutting around the figures.

[00:14:30] With figures I like to be quite accurate with their shapes,  
so that they stand out quite neatly in the collage.

[00:14:44] This is actually a really famous model that 
I'm cutting out; an Aboriginal model, Magnolia.

[00:14:52] I think the idea that I'm going to go for here is 
sort of like a waiting room,

[00:14:58] Especially during NAIDOC now, to really respect black artists and activists, and speakers.

[00:15:06] Making sure that you're respecting them and  
what they're doing.

[00:15:14] Respecting the energy and the time, and the knowledge,

[00:15:21] sharing so that we can all celebrate 
this week and have a great time.

[00:15:30] I'm just starting to fit pieces together.

[00:15:34] If I had a figure, I could sit them into the seats.

[00:15:37] You can put them waiting behind 
the desk and stuff like that.

[00:15:49] I'm kind of going straight out the gate, mainly because  
I'm drawn and inspired by what I have picked out.

[00:16:01] If you're not exactly sure what you want 
to say in your collage, that's completely fine.

[00:16:06] You don't have to go quite as political 
or provocative as I have been going with this collage. 

[00:16:17] Before you start gluing everything, just 
have a look at what's first.

[00:16:22] So this one is actually underneath this man.

[00:16:25] So I'm going to put her down first.

[00:16:34] And I like to do it on top of the background first.

[00:16:46] And I'm going quite plain as well. 
If you have glitter at home, go for it!

[00:16:50] It you have stickers or anything sparkly or 
shiny that you want to put on,

[00:16:58] I say go for it! [paper rips].

[00:17:02] And if that happens, that's fine! [Laughs] 

[00:17:02] Because it's glue and you can just glue it  
right back on.

[00:17:08] Perfect!  

[00:17:15] [Muffled paper sounds]

[00:17:35] So...

[00:17:38] I just like to do a swipe with the glue,  
because you never know later if you actually want to 

[00:17:42] take this out of the folio.

[00:17:46] So if you just do it lightly, it's still stuck in there,

[00:17:49] but you can also just stick it out later if 
you want to glue it on to some nicer paper.

[00:17:54] So that's my collage. So it's just talking about that waiting 
room and how a lot of my people aren't 

[00:18:01] actually paid a lot for the time and energy 
and the knowledge that they share.

[00:18:06] And, you know, always in that waiting room. 
Always waiting for institutions to contact or

[00:18:15] find that time.

[00:18:16] So that's just what I made with this collage.

[00:18:21] But it could be interpreted in different ways.

[00:18:23] It just was just was 
drawn to me and came out like this.

[00:18:27] So that's my college. 

[00:18:29] [Soft Music]

[00:18:33] Well, this is just a really quick example of how 
you can just have fun, so if you're not really sure what

[00:18:41] ideas are coming to you and what you want to say, it's 
perfectly fine to just play around and see what you can make

[00:18:51] with the patterns and the colours

[00:18:53] you have at home.

[00:18:57] You can have a go at hoome and use paint.

[00:19:00] I've got some watercolours here. Just play around 
and have fun. You can use the patterns.

[00:19:07] So what I'm going to do is use the 
patterns in this piece that I've cut out,

[00:19:14] and mimic them in with some watercolour.

[00:19:19] If it looks a little bit crazy, that's fine, because 
it's  perfectly fine to experiment and explore and make

[00:19:26] mistakes, make so many mistakes.

[00:19:28] That's fine.

[00:19:29] That's what it's all about.

[00:19:31] I'm gonna stick it down.

[00:19:41] So I'm going to stick this down first before I get 
painting, just because it might get a little bit messy.

[00:19:51] So I'm going to start by putting that down first.

[00:19:57] I'll start also putting down pieces 
that I wanna include in this work

[00:20:07] so that the watercolour doesn't smudge.

[00:20:23] For example, you can layer the paper 
over the top of other papers.

[00:20:27] You can cut out holes and have little bits peeping out.

[00:20:31] I recommend just playing around 
and see what looks good to you.

[00:20:55] Interesting.

[00:20:58]  I got to admit, I'm always just really drawn to  
what I want to say.

[00:21:05] So I think this is my 
challenge: Patterns and Colours.

[00:21:10] So you might be really good at this at home.

[00:21:15] I'm just going to see what this 
looks like if I bring this out.

[00:21:31] So it's attached to the image 
in that order.

[00:21:38] This rainforest area reminds me 
of my country, of Mornington Island and also 

[00:21:48] around the Daintree area, when I went on a  
beach trip out there.

[00:21:51] So I'm going to turn this into a snake. 

[00:21:58] And my snake, to me is my ancestral being.

[00:22:03] So the Rainbow Serpent is my 
creative spirit and my ancestors'

[00:22:09] and his name is Thuwathu.

[00:22:14] So I'm going to turn this snake 
from the water into Thuwathu.

[00:22:21] I guess little things pop out as well, like feelingly, 

[00:22:26] which is like in music, where you really want to 
make it quite emotive.

[00:22:30] Just looking at that image reminded me of my 
home and my family, and my dreaming stories.

[00:22:35] So it's amazing what can pop out to 
you whilst you're doing a collage.

[00:22:41] It seems like such a simple thing, but it 
can be turned into a really meaningful thing.

[00:22:48] If I had more time, I could even extend out the work 
into the whole page, but I don't have time for that one.

[00:22:55] But you have plenty of time at 
home to do whatever you want to do!

[00:23:00] So use the whole space! Use the whole page.

[00:23:03] I recommend trying not to leave gaps of the paper 
unless you're wanting to, unless that's for an actual reason.

[00:23:11] Try to expand the whole 
page and make a whole work.

[00:23:15] So that's my patterns and colours of collage.  

[00:23:19] Good! [Chuckles]

[00:23:23] [Soft Music]

[00:23:26] What you can do at home:

[00:23:28] I recommend doing an exercise 
that will push you with your time,

[00:23:33] So, for five minutes, cut out about three books worth 
of patterns and figures and colours and

[00:23:44] anything. 

[00:23:46] Time yourself. Put it on your phone.

[00:23:47] Time yourself for five minutes, after the five minutes you 
stop, and then you time yourself again for five minutes and

[00:23:54] you make a quick collage.

[00:23:55] So that  gets you out of your head.

[00:23:57] Doesn't get you thinking about  
'What about this one? And this one?'. 

[00:24:01] Or 'that doesn't make any sense'. 
It's fine!

[00:24:03] You only have those time restraints, so make anything 
you want to make and it will come to you.

[00:24:08] And it's a good way to push yourself. 

[00:24:10] [Soft Music]
[00:24:14] I hope you all enjoyed the college class,

[00:24:17] I am so happy that you were able to attend virtually.

[00:24:22] Hopefully one day you guys will be able to 
come to Melbourne and attend one of my workshops.

[00:24:27] My last word of advice, for you all, especially those in 
regional areas, is to keep making, keep producing at home,

[00:24:36] attend anything that you can in your area and hopefully, 
your practice will continue to develop.

[00:24:44] And it's okay to take it one step at a time.  
Start small.

[00:24:47] Collaging is a good way to do that, and just keep 
pushing yourself, growing and practicing,

[00:24:53] And good things will come your way.

[00:24:55] [Soft Music]

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