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Artwork copyright Raymond Ho. Photo courtesy of Washington State Arts Commission, 2016.

Collage and Assemblage

The term collage comes from the French word “coller” meaning to glue or stick together.

Collage is an art-making technique where pieces of paper, pictures, and other things are arranged and stuck down onto a surface. It often includes magazine and newspaper clippings, photographs, ribbons, paint, bits of colored or handmade papers, portions of other artwork or texts, and other found items. It can also include three-dimensional elements – when the artwork becomes more three-dimensional, it is often called assemblage.

Artists often take collage beyond the physical artmaking act of “sticking things together” and use it as a way to stick different ideas and images together for an unpredictable effect. The technique itself can be obvious in the artwork or very subtle. This selection of artworks from Washington’s State Art Collection explores and showcases the wide variety of possibilities of collage art.

World Collage Day is an annual, international celebration of collage on the second saturday of May.

You might even think of mosaic as a type of collage, or of collage as a type of mosaic (since mosaics have a longer history): see mosaic artworks here.