Artist Profile - Zach Collins

“It may seem to be obsessive to some but I like to think of collage making as more of a state of constant awareness. I am now more aware of my immediate environment, always scanning and searching for materials to use in my collages.

I am aware that this is a mobile medium and is the perfect size to bring along with me when traveling. I am able to continue to work, create, collect while away from my studio. I look at it as a great way to be productive finding materials on the ground while on a jog, visiting my parents, or in the waiting room at the doctors office.

My studio is everywhere I go.”

Zach Collins

Cecil Touchon, Director

Zach Collins is a collage artist  that I admire who currently lives down the road in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Collins has been a contributor to the Archives for some years now. The works in the collection are in conversation with Dada, Pop Art, Abstraction and chance operations in content and Constructivism in compositional strategy. His works are spare and disciplined and use the local color and patina of his vintage papers to great affect.

Collins is a hunter-gatherer as many collage artists are, who has a sensitive eye and a delicate touch.

“My work is about memories – tragic, humorous, and everything in between. I experiment with ironic and often unrecognizable imagery. My work is an investigation of the unexpected associations that are created by combining fragmented materials through collage.” 

– Zach Collins

I recall that Rosalia and I attended a collage party in Albuquerque last year (2019). A number of local collage artists gathered together to make collages each bringing a variety of their own collage materials which filled the space with large plastic boxes full of supplies and paper and I was especially struck by Collins’s collage making kit. He had brought a very small box filled with pre-cut and very tiny bits of paper ready for making postage stamp sized collages. His ‘travel studio’ so to speak was a lovely solution to making small collages using only the most minimal of space like a plein air watercolorist with nothing but a block of watercolor paper and a portable palette box of colors. I think this reveals something of the thoughtfulness and organizational conceptualism of Collin’s process.

A quiet, unassuming and affable midwesterner, Collins, like many collage artists, is a hidden treasure that deserves discovering and his work collecting.

Books by Zach Collins

“We Said Hello and Shook Hands” is not only about the art of collage but about the art of collage collaboration. Using the Internet as his primary vehicle of communication, Collins “said hello” to hundreds of artists around the world between 2011 and 2014 by sending them starter collages (and, later, finishing collages that others had started). The result, documented in this book, is a fresh and vital body of work that consists of over 500 artworks by Collins with over 100 collaborating artists. While the pieces reflect the individual dynamic of the personalities involved, that’s just the beginning-in the merging of styles and imperatives that happens during artistic collaboration among diverse individuals, exploration and experiment run unfettered and the whole that emerges is often greater than the sum of the parts. To push the boundaries of the collaborations, Collins made sure to include both cut-and-paste collagists and digital artists, sometimes sending out the same start to both types of artists, which resulted in surprising and intriguing interpretations. Artmaking on this scale does not happen without much passion and excitement, and Collins captures the feel of the interpersonal communications by documenting internet conversations that would otherwise have become ephemeral, preserving for posterity the human spirit that fueled this important and innovative project.

Acute Angles is a sister volume to We Said Hello and Shook Hands, which appeared in 2015. That volume presented over 500 collage collaborations between Zach Collins and over 100 other collage artists, in which one artist’s “starter collage” would be completed by one or more collaborating artists. However, some of the “starter collages” that Zach put together seemed to want to stand on their own. Acute Angles is a selection of those elegant, simple works, speaking quietly but with a clear voice.

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