One of the things we love about our covers is the breadth of styles and techniques from the talented artists we showcase. This month’s cover artist, Jake Kennedy, appreciates the contrast himself, pointing out that his is a much more muted, faded affair than the sharp, bright January piece by Matt Johnstone. “Your January issue is very vibrant and clearly digital. That’s beautiful in and of itself, but there’s something about collage that is forgotten and rusty and old.”
Jake doesn’t alter the colours of his cut outs at all, so the only digital involvement for our cover is a coloured Photoshop background. “It’s kind of a slightly naff old computer colour, like the early Apple Macs. You’d see it by a bin somewhere, I like that”.
Splitting his work between home and his studio in Farm Mews, one advantage of the studio is a lack of cats to mess up Jake’s collages, as well as natural light from a skylight. His images are all sourced physically – mostly from charity shops and flea markets – so a meddling mog could prove disastrous.
Jake is influenced by album cover art such as Pavement’s, the audio collage work of artists such as DJ Shadow, and he appreciates the minimal approach and careful contrast of John Stezaker. The construction of the cover is built up of many different experiments around the theme of ‘make do and mend’.
“I had a lot of bits and bobs pre-cut which I would then arrange and re-arrange, think about it for a few days, then go back to it. These were the ones that rose to the top, if you like. I knew that I wanted the lady in the middle because that is the most blatant regarding the theme. As the cover goes around, the cut outs all kind of interact in their own way. The man in the bottom right is throwing a ball, but he’s dictating, giving her the power to blow the horn, and it’s going straight into his head.”
I’m curious as to what many of the elements are: I particularly like the friendly-looking guide to electronics on the bottom middle, a teaching character that reminds me of parodies in The Simpsons’ classrooms. The man in the middle right requires the most explaining: “he is fixing a nuclear reactor but the background was very busy, so I cut it out to quieten it down a bit. It is the bottom right of an A4 or A3 factory shot.”
The object under the Viva title meanwhile is a deconstruction of the workings of a Morris Minor, whereas the globe is from an atlas, outlining the angle of sunlight on the planet. He’s not entirely sure what the device on the bottom right is however, but assumes it is a microphone or dictaphone of some kind. Answers on a postcard to the Viva office please.
Contact Jake if you would like to buy the original collages, or if you know about any exhibition space available for him to use.