The Process: Michael Bilsborough's Capitalist Collages

Share this post

When New York-based artist Michael Bilsborough's project HELLO TODAY: Capitalist Collages popped up on the site, we were impressed with the way he took otherwise bland images from high-end business magazines and transformed them into sometimes unsettling, occasionally eerie, but aesthetically pleasing collages. We asked him to explain the process behind creating some of these, and learned that even the act of doing the project on Kickstarter is, in a way, part of the art.

In many ways, HELLO TODAY is a departure from the art I've previously exhibited. In the past, I imagined pure aesthetics to be my highest calling. I made art for art's sake, above and beyond topical concerns. But things have changed. Now I want to make art that brings in more of the faces and forces of the world today. That's because I no longer perceive myself to be in a bubble of aesthetics. Instead, I see how I am buoyed or sunk by surrounding currents of power and wealth, which are dynamics that can explain almost everything around me. So I've updated my ideas about making art, and HELLO TODAY is the first example. 

I wanted to make artwork about capitalism, and by chance, I learned which magazines have the highest-earning readers. I combed their ad pages, noting their language and design. I liked their visual fantasies of congenial meetings, immaculate factories, brotherly executives, and leisurely vacations (or workplaces). Compared to news photos, these fantastic images were better suited for capitalism, because so much of capitalism is fantasy. How does my life fit into this fantasy? How does this fantasy fit into my life?

Through this framework, I make each collage with the images leading the way. Some images have "vulnerabilities," where an intervention seems possible. Others seem "aggressive," poised to intervene on another image. Using traditional methods, I cut and paste them together. I scan that collage into Photoshop, but I retouch as little as possible. The point is to preserve as much as I can of each advertisement image, to accept the original as the best execution available, including imperfections due to the mass printing process. To reprint these collages into a book will cement these imperfections: the decay inherent to a copy of a copy. But even that imperfect art object will have more permanence than the disposable ads it comprises. Part of proving that permanence, for me, is how these anonymous advertisement “types” can become memorable characters. That’s why I’m illustrating this blog post with studio photos populated by faces from HELLO TODAY.

To me, Kickstarter is right for HELLO TODAY because Kickstarter is the most democratic and open marketplace to crowdfund a project about mass media and resource distribution.

Something funny to me is how I'm now adapting my own studio habits to notions of "production," "output," "efficiency," "performance," "valuable," and "investment" — the vocabulary of capitalism that I often find in these ads and the articles between them!

HELLO TODAY includes half of this growing body of collage work. If HELLO TODAY succeeds, then I hope to continue with another book.

For more information and images, visit HELLO TODAY: Capitalist Collages.

Comments
    1. Missing avatar

      Dustin on

      People were inspired with the way you took generally insipid pictures from top of the line business magazines and changed them into now and again unsettling, http://www.mbaessayhelp.co.uk/

    2. Missing avatar

      Lorenzos on

      I preferred their visual dreams of amiable gatherings, flawless processing plants, charitable administrators. http://www.essayleaks.com/

    3. Missing avatar

      ggg on

      I have bookmarked your website because this site contains valuable information in it. I am really

      happy with articles quality and presentation. Thanks a lot for keeping great stuff.

      http://www.aadharcardstatusonline.in
      http://www.moviesdownloadhub.net

    4. Missing avatar

      ggg on

      us open 2015 is tennis world cup this year and you can check us open tennis live and us open 2015 live scores.US open is one of the most popular tennis tournament in the world and scheduled in August-september 2015.I have bookmarked your website because this site contains valuable information in it. I am really happy with articles quality and presentation. Thanks a lot for keeping

      great stuff. I am very much thankful for this site.
      http://www.englandrugbyworldcup2015livestream.com
      http://www.usopentennislive.com/

    5. Deepak Kumar on

      Please Check this out also, <a href="http://www.rugbyworldcup-2015.co.uk">rugby world cup 2015 live streaming</a>, <a href="http://www.rugbyworldcup-2015.co.uk/rugby-world-cup-2015-opening-ceremony/">rugby world cup 2015 opening ceremony</a>, <a href="http://www.rugbyworldcup-2015.co.uk">watch rugby world cup 2015 online</a>, <a href="http://www.rugbyworldcup-2015.co.uk">rugby world cup 2015 live stream</a>, <a href="http://www.rugbyworldcup-2015.co.uk/rugby-world-cup-2015-kick-off-times/">rugby world cup 2015 kick off times</a>, <a href="http://www.rugbyworldcup-2015.co.uk/rugby-world-cup-2015-wall-chart-download/">rugby world cup 2015 wall chart download</a>, <a href="http://www.rugbyworldcup-2015.co.uk/rugby-world-cup-2015-fixtures-pdf/">rugby world cup 2015 fixtures pdf</a>, <a href="http://www.rugbyworldcup-2015.co.uk/rugby-world-cup-2015-venues-list/">rugby world cup 2015 venues list</a>

    6. Missing avatar

      Namaku Keren on

      This comment has been removed by Kickstarter.

    7. Missing avatar

      teguhbejo on

      This comment has been removed by Kickstarter.

    8. Missing avatar

      Doa Ibu Tersayang on

      This comment has been removed by Kickstarter.

    9. Akash Singh on

      Thanks for post this helpful post - Please visit for More information about -
      Top Packers and Movers in Hyderabad @
      http://www.dteller.in/packers-and-movers-hyderabad/
      Top Packers and Movers in Pune @
      http://www.dteller.in/packers-and-movers-pune/
      Top Packers and movers in Gurgaon @
      http://www.dteller.in/packers-and-movers-gurgaon/
      Top Packers and Movers in Bangalore @
      http://www.dteller.in/packers-and-movers-bangalore/

    10. Akash Singh on

      Thanks for all your information, Website is very nice and informative content.
      Top Packers and Movers in Ghaziabad @
      http://www.expert5th.in/packers-and-movers-ghaziabad/
      Top Packers and Movers in Faridabad @
      http://www.expert5th.in/packers-and-movers-faridabad/
      Top Packers and Movers in Noida @
      http://www.expert5th.in/packers-and-movers-noida/
      Top Packers and Movers in Thane @
      http://www.expert5th.in/packers-and-movers-thane/
      Top Packers and Movers in Navi Mumbai @
      http://www.expert5th.in/packers-and-movers-navimumbai/

    11. Akash Singh on

      This article is really fantastic and thanks for sharing the valuable post.
      Top Packers and Movers in Bangalore @
      http://www.expert5th.in/packers-and-movers-bangalore/
      Top Packers and Movers in Gurgaon @
      http://www.expert5th.in/packers-and-movers-gurgaon/
      Top Packers and Movers in Delhi @
      http://www.expert5th.in/packers-and-movers-delhi/

    12. Akash Singh on

      Thanks for post this helpful post - Please visit for More information about -
      Top Packers and Movers in Pune @
      http://www.expert5th.in/packers-and-movers-pune/
      Top Packers and Movers in Hyderabad @
      http://www.expert5th.in/packers-and-movers-hyderabad/
      Top Packers and Movers in Chennai @
      http://www.expert5th.in/packers-and-movers-chennai/
      Top Packers and Movers in Mumbai
      http://www.expert5th.in/packers-and-movers-mumbai/
      Top Packers and Movers India @ http://www.expert5th.in/