Cynical Collages by Joe Webb

Joe Webb is a graphic artist who, fed up with today’s technology and its seemingly infinite possibilities, turned to collage, a method he explains as “more immediate and graphic than painting”. Webb creates collages from newspapers and magazines, combining just one picture with another, examining the absurdity of the modern world.

Webb is a Brighton based artist born in 1976, even though he wishes he had been born 100 years ago. He has rejected the sheer endless ways of handling images with modern technology, such as Photoshop and the like, and appreciated working with just images and a pair of scissors.

He is an enthusiastic collector of vintage magazines and printed ephemera, Webb uses cut-outs of original material stumbled upon in charity shops and second hand bookstores to create surreal, hand-made juxtapositions. Combining only two elements in each piece with the intention of “reinventing the original scene trying to find a narrative through the process”. Webb works with vintage imagery, which he feels is incompatible with modern day technology. He is drawn to the “fuzziness” of vintage print just like the scratches and dust on a vinyl record transmit a comforting warmth to the aesthetic.

“I started making these simple hand-made collages as a sort of luddite reaction to working as a graphic artist on computers for many years. I like the limitations of collage…using found imagery and a pair of scissors, there are no Photoshop options to resize, adjust colours or undo. My collages work to a basic rule of sourcing just two or three images… with these I can reinvent the original scene to communicate a new idea.”

Webb is especially fascinated by pictures from the 1950’s when there seemed to be a focus on design and real craftsmanship in everything man made. Many of his pieces examine human relationships and our position in the universe. There is a dark undercurrent to Webb’s work; he peels back the veneer to uncover the reality beneath.

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