It would be an understatement to say that over the last few years American artist Chet Bell has taken a deep dive into the world of collage. Finding a new medium to work with is always an exciting prospect for a creator, but this 70-year-old has taken his paper passion to an extreme: in a relatively short period of time, Bell has created what anyone would describe as a monumental body of work — over 2,000 paper collages! — assembled in the most rudimentary cut-and-paste method, using only scissors and school glue.
Bell works in a fashion similar to automatic writing, collecting images from any and all sources that he finds interesting (matchbook covers, maps, magazines, trading cards, catalogs, comics, children’s books, posters, flyers, pamphlets, packaging, vernacular photos, etc.) — cutting them out to develop a personal vocabulary of visual potential, which he collects and organizes in boxes. From this archive of accumulation, Bell creates his wonderful, frenetic works — randomly assembling bits of paper into carnivalesque scenes populated by figurative mashups that do their best to dance and dream …
Chet Bell is a Kentuckian who has also at times lived in New Orleans, Cambridge, MA, and Chicago; he is an avid photographer, digital image-maker and collagist. Visit his Facebook page to view various art projects at: Clasparagus Visual Gallery