DOWNTIME w/ Kieran Madden
1) Location? Brooklyn, NYC 🇺🇸
2) Years collaging? I’ve been doing it on and off since 2000. I started in earnest after arriving in New York in 2008.
3) What do you love and hate about collage? I love the never ending hunt for fresh material which feeds into my preoccupation with flea markets, thrift stores (op shops) and picking up stuff off the street. I think all collage artists I know have hoarder tendencies.
The process itself offers something entirely different to other mediums, in the way a piece can come together from discordant sources and literally fall into place. Working in analog means that you really are leaving to chance the materials you come across which is part of the fun. I enjoy giving these antiquated pieces of ephemera a second life and saving them from the silverfish.
I dislike when I see a lack of originality and plagiarism, which is no doubt enabled by social media. There’s a difference between repurposing an image and copying an idea.
4) Biggest influences? As a kid, I was into Jamie Reid and his work for the Sex Pistols. His ‘God Save the Queen’ poster has to be one of the most famous collages of all time. I also randomly had a Russian Constructivist poster on my bedroom wall featuring a collage of some bald guy staring at me.
Early on in New York I saw separate shows by John Baldessari, Dash Snow and Fred Tomaselli within a short time period of time, which definitely had an influence and showed the range of possibilities in the medium. I was also introduced to the work of John Stezaker around the same time, I guess I decided, ‘OK, this is a thing.’
I always have music playing. I’m listening to the world’s finest radio station WFMU as I write this, if you don’t know it, check it out. I’m also happy to let Spotify and their algorithms continue to refine their profile on me and feed me music based on my tastes as my vinyl gathers dust.
The books I’ve really liked in recent years are quite dystopian, by authors like Michel Houellebecq and Margaret Atwood. In a similar vein William S. Burroughs–who’s books I’ve had an long affinity with– has been an influence that extends beyond his writing, especially his cut-up experiments and theories about synchronicity.
5) Analog Vs Digital? Analog
6) How do you spend your downtime? Downtime includes a visit to my local pub on occasion, a bit of yoga, playing with my kids and generally being a family man. I think I did my 10,000 hours of seeing bands but will still do that occasionally.
7) Three tips for someone starting out in collage? Try not to look at other people’s work too much, and find your own voice and style.
Give the space backgrounds a rest.
Watch your fingers!
8) Up and coming shows or projects we should know about? There’s a few things going on at the moment; including a Brooklyn Collage Collective book in the works and the we’re also starting a series of live zine workshops in a Lower East Side gallery this week. I plan to self-publish an Art Book of my work which should be coming out around the end of the year and I’ve also been invited to be a part of an upcoming collage anthology.
Artworks (top to bottom)
'Conditioning' cut paper collage
'Breakfast Of Former Champions' cut paper collage
'Atol' cut paper collage
'If I Die Before I Wake' cut paper collage
'Gentrification' cut paper collage
'Slab to Table' cut paper collage
'Stitch n Bitch' cut paper collage
'Mantis' cut paper collage