Vincent Junier began working with collage ten years ago by accident. While recovering from a scooter injury, he was unable to use a computer and out of boredom began cutting out pictures. The discovery of collage was an awakening for the artist and from that day on he hasn’t stopped.
Like some artists, my work depends on the weather. I live in Champigny-sur-Marne, which is very close to Paris. I have the luxury of a small artist’s studio with plenty of natural light. With light and sun, I tend to use more colors. But in the winter, I tend to hide in my cave and produce darker things.
What happens politically or economically influences my work and I react a lot to what is surrounding me in society. I have a strong problem with authority and it appears more or less obviously in my work. The kind of questions that come to me are: what is my position amongst the other people? How can we express our freedom? How do we find our own way? Domination is also an idea present in many of my collages, like the influence of religion or any form of power. For instance, the turmoil surrounding the parliament vote for the law allowing same-sex marriage inspired me to create Un seul mot de toi.
In the beginning I was mainly working with old magazines bought at flea markets in Vanves in the southwestern suburbs of Paris. After I got a skin allergy from lead ink, I was forced to find something else. It was nearly impossible to go on working with old printed papers. Since then, I use a lot of American and English magazines. I don’t use very common economic or political magazines because I need pictures that are not too familiar. The materials I constantly use are from lifestyle, streetwear, art, and fashion magazines. I use graphic elements that are international because I don’t feel that I am part of a particular country or culture; what I do can be read and understood all over the world.
Collage is quite a menial medium. You have to work with elements that are already created. On the other hand, the limitations invite possibility. It is enthralling to spend time looking for pictures and then to combine the elements while starting to build a story in my mind before finalizing the shape of the piece.
The great freedom is that you can change everything as much as you like, until you are satisfied with the result. I don’t work with the Internet or use digital media in any way. Sensations of touch are very important to me. I love touching velvet and polished wood. Then for papers, I choose some white and very soft cardboards because they are really smooth and enjoyable. Then you have precise elements that I often pick up, like glass eyes, especially from dolls, targets, elements of games–like casino tokens, nails, or gloves. My stepmother was a glove manufacturer and I collect a lot of embroideries, pearls. The idea is also that each element can only be used once. There is no exception.
Featured Image: Vincent Junier, Un seul mot de toi (A single world of you), collage, 770 mm. x 570 mm., 2013