“We Said Hello and Shook Hands” by Zach Collins
“We Said Hello and Shook Hands” is not only about the art of collage but about the art of collage collaboration. Using the Internet as his primary vehicle of communication, Collins “said hello” to hundreds of artists around the world between 2011 and 2014 by sending them starter collages (and, later, finishing collages that others had started). The result, documented in this book, is a fresh and vital body of work that consists of over 500 artworks by Collins with over 100 collaborating artists. While the pieces reflect the individual dynamic of the personalities involved, that’s just the beginning-in the merging of styles and imperatives that happens during artistic collaboration among diverse individuals, exploration and experiment run unfettered and the whole that emerges is often greater than the sum of the parts. To push the boundaries of the collaborations, Collins made sure to include both cut-and-paste collagists and digital artists, sometimes sending out the same start to both types of artists, which resulted in surprising and intriguing interpretations. Artmaking on this scale does not happen without much passion and excitement, and Collins captures the feel of the interpersonal communications by documenting internet conversations that would otherwise have become ephemeral, preserving for posterity the human spirit that fueled this important and innovative project.
Zach Collins is a member of the Collagistes Collective and his book was presented to one of the organisers, Tony Gohagan, at an exhibition at the Westminster Reference Library on March 31st 2015. Along with it was a small collage made up by images sent in by fellow collagistes Gena Mary Sasaki Johns, Viktorija Čerkauskaitė Nick Cash and Claire Palmer and assembled by artists Gavin Mitchell and Gareth Halliday (seen here) to present to Tony.