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I started out as a painter but over the years have drifted towards collage, the medium I
used when illustrating my poetry books. I’ve also been, on and off, interested in
photography. (I remember being pleased with a black and white snap that I took of a
Henry Moore sculpture when I was visiting London as a teenager. It was a foreshortened
view.) I began sticking extraneous scraps onto my paintings at one point, which was
probably the slippery slope towards collage art. Nowadays I use paint, mark making or
drawing from time to time in my collages. Sometimes the work is satirical; mostly it’s
what the viewer chooses to see in it. Titles help to frame and situate.
I like the extemporaneous nature of what I’m doing; I almost never do sketches in
advance. The image can be beautiful or unsettling or both. The main thing is that it
should be compelling. Our world is flooded with images, in a sort of perpetual collage, so
maybe it’s the most appropriate medium for our times. One could say that making a
deliberate collage image is a way of creating order out of this chaos.
Alan Murphy is the Irish artist and writer-illustrator of four collections of poetry for
children and teenagers. He has contributed visual art and poetry to numerous digital and
print journals and anthologies in Ireland, the UK and the US, and exhibited throughout
Ireland and abroad. Dublin born, he lives in Lismore, county Waterford. Occasionally he
reviews books for Inis magazine, and has also lately taken up songwriting via the guitar,
which he plays badly.
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