Ashkan Honarvar

Ashkan Honarvar

How is your normal process of collaging? (idea or commission, where do you get your materials or find your images, which is your cutting technique, best way you have found to paste, where do you work and how, and very important: what do you do with your scraps)
Its really different each time, it can be a single image that triggers a whole new project. Or I might see a movie or read a book. Sometimes I have an idea first then I go and look for images and books to cut up and other times is the way around. I have found a great collage book but I need to connect it to a story/meaning. I believe I always need to have a reason for making collages. I need to tell stories. Especially with some graphic images I use, I need to handle them with respect and care so I always force myself to give it a meaning and by doing this you respect the images and understand better why you use them.

I also try not to over use certain images. So after cutting a book for making collages I will try not to use the same book for other projects. In that way all the projects have different kind of feeling and aesthetics. By doing this you also force your self to be more creative and you don’t repeat yourself.  As if you like making puzzles but you don’t want to use the same pieces all over again. You want new pieces each time you have finished a puzzle.

About my materials that I use in my projects; I find them everywhere! I see every printed-paper around me as a potential collage material. Even the most boring book from the nineties about brick construction in England can have beautiful parts you can use in your collages. Collage art for me consist of 30% looking around and buying books and other printed material and 70% on making collages itself.

For cutting the collages I always use an X-Acto knife (X245) with a 360 degrees rotating head part. In that way I can easily cut-out curved parts. But its also very sharp and thin so you can easily cut-out the smallest parts if needed.

After few years experimenting with collage art I have created a new and easy way to paste complex collages. Some of my works consist of more than 60 layers on top of each other, but also going through the paper. I usually glue the whole thing after I’m happy with the total composition.  So instead of removing and gluing every individual part separately (and by doing this you risk that the compositions will change). You leave everything as it is. You get a random not useable page from a book. Cut this up in little strokes of paper (1x3cm approximately) put some glue on the tip of the paper stroke and slowly glue the parts of the collage (gluing with one hand using the stroke and the other hand holding the collage parts on its place) And then throw away this stroke and move to the next part with a new stroke of paper. At first it feels a bit slow but trust me you get faster eventually and your collages are cleaner and you have more control on the outcome.

When would you consider to be the exact moment of conclusion of your creative process? Do you usually already have a default image in mind or does it evolve with an optical addition?
It’s difficult to explain I think its more a gut feeling. You just feel a work id finished. And usually I do have a image in mind from the start. It´s not a complete image but just flashes. So I never know how a work evolves in the end. And I believe that’s a good thing otherwise it would have been very boring. It´s the unknown that always pushes me to create.


If we were to find a literary comparison, do you think it's possible to define your work as the result of a "stream of consciousness”?
Yeah I believe so.

Are the selected items for your artwork unique or do you sometimes reuse the same elements?
Everything you see is only used once. I only use printed material for my works the oldest from books from 1850) and everything is handmade as well.


Was collage your first artistic expression or did you start from a different technique like painting?
I used to paint and draw allot before discovering collage almost ten years ago. With painting and drawing I could get out what I had in my head. I missed the control. But with collage you see the end result directly. And this was one of the main reasons why I like collage so much, its fast direct and layered.

How do you relate to the public? Is the reaction, often traumatic, of the public to your work an integral part of the creative process of the work, or is it not taken into consideration, let born spontaneously in public?
All my projects are born from a question or fascination. They are very personal and almost therapeutic. The reactions I usually have are mixed. But often positive.



In many of your artworks you choose to intersect natural elements with the human figure, especially in the project 'Zla Uczennica', what relationship guide your choice?
It’s different for every project but yes for the last few years I have used many images from nature in my work. I find it fascinating how much symbolism there is in nature. But also from an aesthetic point of view nature is a source of unlimited imagery of colors and shapes.

Interview by Alice Manieri

Courtesy of the Artist
Ashkan Honarvar


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