The Collage Period

All of the most successful artists have 'phases', right? I've just been through my collage phase, and it's been great fun. I try not to let my own style influence individual projects too much as the inspiration for each piece has to come from the play or product that I'm selling, but collage is very fashionable at the moment, and it just felt right for all of these pieces! Collage is quite a clumsy style - the humour comes from different elements being mixed together which don't quite fit - lots of strange angles, odd proportions and that sort of thing. A lot of the trickiest photoshop work I do involved mixing together different parts of different photos and trying to make the joins seamless so it looks like one whole image, and with collage you can forget about all of that.

With A Quartet of Chekhov Farces I wanted to achieve a sense of anarchic fun whilst also hinting at some more serious, dark undertones. There's something naughty about taking an old, sensible photo of an Edwardian lady and giving her a massive grin and a pistol. In A Night at the Pictures, the collage medium has a different purpose. It's a community project based in Walthamstow, and I wanted local people to be able recognise the landmarks – with a collage I could simply cram more in than I could with a straightforward photograph. Civil Rogues is going to be a really fun show - it's all about hasty plans made by out-of-work actors in the 1600s when the theatres were closed, and the rather thrown-together look of the poster hints at the off-the-cuff improvised ideas that the characters come up with to save their skins. The Flying Roast Goose is a sweet little piece of puppetry - it's a cute story about a chef and a goose, but it's set in Hong Kong in the 1940s (which isn't so cute). The illustration itself is friendly and naïve, but the collage element – introducing little bits of real photographs and signs from the time – hints at the more serious backdrop to the story.