I do collages for the same reason that I draw, paint, or write. This is one of many ways of expression. I like tearing apart mostly non-Lithuanian lifestyle magazines, old, non-Lithuanian newspapers with bluish or brownish photographs, and catalogues of contemporary interior-decorating, castles, and electrical equipment. As with drawing or painting, I also create collages in cycles, as I am rarely satisfied with a separate piece of work. Sometimes I get infuriated by the fact that the visual arts are so static and limited in space.
I make collages from transformed and dispersed life, i.e. from scraps of periodicals or encyclopedias. Then I cover everything with diluted or thick ink or transparent paint. It is similar to pop art, but also close to poetry, when lines of a poem can be linked with one another only through association. In collage, I don’t like to use faces of famous people, all the more – Lithuanian faces; I sometimes use an athlete’s, soldier’s, or traveler’s arm, a large eye, sometimes Penelope Cruz’s breasts, but no face. It would be too vulgar and simple. If I need a woman’s face or half of the face, or lips, I use a nameless model.
I use cultural aspirations – the streets of lost and then unearthed Pompeii, ancient or classical sculptures, fragments of human anatomy, beauties and skull motifs, global problems: globalization, radiation, and the new myths are reiterated in several collages. But it would be boring to spend a long time with collages – here I work a lot and quickly, and within a few weeks a cycle is complete. I stop because the temptation of repeating oneself lurks everywhere. It is like a creative excursion to my own or foreign history, storage collections of good museums, or the Logge Vasari restaurant smelling of blueberries in the sloping Arezzo Square.
It is always important “to read” the collage – I do not like a hodgepodge of characters and symbols. The paradox of the subject is by all means one of the most important features of a collage. But the paradox is never sharp; it may be disguised, indirect. Here, there is a great deal of lyricism and irony.
Collages should not be compared with paintings, because it’s a different genre, a different language (like some kind of Esperanto…). Still, I have created a series of paintings based on my 2006-2007 collage cycle. I simply enlarged the format, and transferred the whole thing onto canvas with minor changes using oil paint. The idea to paint one’s own collages is not mine, but the framer Nodaris’ from the New Town of Vilnius. When I brought over a folder with collages for framing, he asked: “Are these preparatory projects for paintings?” I said, “No, they are independent, self-contained works.” But having returned to my workshop, I thought maybe I should after all paint them? So I did. Because there was not much to worry about, the composition was ready; all I had to do was transfer it onto the canvas. I think some of the collages remained better than their oil counterparts, but in some cases the painting surpassed the collage.