You will need:
Magazines and newspapers containing animal images
Paper glue (Pritt or rice paste)
Card or stiff paper
Split pins (or paper fasteners) for the joins. You can also use very thin wire or shoemakers’ thread for this.
Montage is a way of producing images by cutting out and combining segments of existing pictures from different sources, to create an entirely new image. The new composite image
is often strangely or disturbingly convincing because, if it is carefully constructed, it appears to be somehow familiar but not quite natural. This is why it is a technique that has often been used to convey something beyond the everyday world, outside of our “normal” reality.
The Surrealists, like Max Ernst, used montage because of their interest in the non-rational, subconscious mind. (We will come back to the Surrealists in Chapter 5.)
Page through the magazines and newspapers, and find and cut out about five or six images of different kinds of animals (and even one or two human beings).
While you are choosing, be aware of any interesting textures, colours and forms that these animals possess. Notice the qualities of the animals’ skins, horns, or hair. Neatly cut out each animal image. Now cut each image into its constituent parts: the limbs, head, tail, etc. You should end up with five or six heads, some bodies, arms, legs, feet and tails. You can even cut up some of the larger faces and reconstruct them out
of separate eyes, noses, and mouths if you wish. Once you have all these animal and human parts, choose some of the elements and assemble them to create one new creature. Separately create each leg, then arms (if any), then a body and the head.
The skill in this process lies in getting each of these disparate elements to look as if they fit perfectly. It is this mismatch that causes the sense of oddness, surprise, strangeness or even shock, that montage figures provoke.
Look at your creature. Is there a “dark” side to its personality? Or is it joyful? Is it frightening? Is it a wild spirit? Or dream- like, benevolent and gentle? What are its special strengths or powers? Give your new creature a name.