Jordan Clarke

I first saw Jordan Clarke during the collage workshop at the start of the year in ‘The Age of Collage Contemporary Collage in Modern Art’, but didn’t pay much attention at the time. I later properly discovered Clarke when researching collage artists that fit with the jumbling up of my Nan’s facial features, that I wanted to create within my own work. The way Clarke distorts the activity of the subject by combining both cuttings from the original image and from others is what is particularly interesting. Clarke uses vintage images he sources and the way in which he rearranges and deconstructs the photographs has a kaleidoscopic effect. This reminded me of some of the photos I took through a kaleidoscope at the start of the year that acted as inspiration for my first ripped up portrait, and is an effect I continued throughout my Outisde/Inside work. The facial and body features become unrecognisable and leave the viewer searching the collage looking for facial or body features. Clarke uses such a range of subjects from little children, to glamorous women to dancers and athletes. The wide range creates such different effects, but it is the collages of the children that I find the most interesting as their gaze has an empty quality about them. This links well to my portrayal of my Nan’s Alzheimer’s as it is one way to symbolise the loss of mentality.

Clarke uses geometric forms to rearrange his subject which reinforced my idea of using triangles to recreate my Nan’s face after the somewhat failure of my first ripped up portrait. Although I was pleased with my first collage, I didn’t like how the pieces didn’t fit together; so by using a similar technique to Clarke in my final piece, I was able to create the complete image that I desired. Clarke expands his collaging to both the body and outside of the face, almost creating movement within the collages. It is the whole sense of hidden identity that I infer from Jordan Clarke’s collages that I find so interesting, whether this be his intention or not. I find that they leave you questioning, who is this person? And the fact that they are vintage photographs leaves a whole history behind them.

A big element of Clarke’s collages is his use of colour. Inspired by Ashkan Honarvar’s ‘Rodeo 1’ series, Clarke also uses flower motifs within some of his collages and in the majority of others, colour plays a huge part in the distortion, often standing out from the rest of the photograph. However, it is more about the kaleidoscopic effect for me personally than the use of colour that I find inspirational for my own work.

Overall, Jordan Clarke’s collages had a big impact upon my own subject work in the use of geometric forms and the hiding of identity. I think I love his work so much because of the change in perspective and contrast between the detail of the photograph and its destruction through collage. Clarke’s collages offer a new insight into reality and aesthetic form that I aimed to achieve in my final pieces.



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BA (Hons) Fine Art Student at Cardiff Metropolitan University

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