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Gallery

Mid-century magazine clippings find new life in Sammy Slabbinck’s collages, which are just the right amount of weird and clever.

Belgian artist Sammy Slabbinck was born in 1977. His work has appeared in exhibitions at the Verbeke Foundation, Galerie PINSART, and the Chicago Urban Art Society. He has produced collage pieces for numerous clients around the world, including Fast Company, Installation magazine, and On the Dot.

His collages are available as digital prints or original collages, and are also featured on postcards from his company FIFTYWAYS.

All images used with permission, copyright © the artist, all rights reserved.

The Morning News:

You’ve been collecting vintage magazines and books since you were a kid. Where do you buy them? How did you use the stash back then?

Sammy Slabbinck:

I mostly buy my magazines and books at yard sales and secondhand shops. Something about these magazines always appealed to me; these were almost like time documents. You could sort of go back in time. I really didn’t do a lot with them, mostly just browsing. I did make a lot of music compilations on CD and cassette at that time, and I would use some of those found images as covers.

TMN:

There’s subtle social commentary in each piece, and it’s one of the things that drew me to your work. Women feature prominently. “Free the nipple” and “Great escape” are just a couple of the ones that stand out. Do you consider yourself a feminist?

SS:

I wouldn’t really consider myself a feminist. I just like to use these vintage images that come out of nude magazines. A lot of these magazines were kind of sleazy (and still are), but if you take an image out of that context and place it in a new setting, it can get a completely new meaning and feel. And in doing so, you can give the image in question back some dignity. It’s not just about the nude aspect any more; it becomes part of something bigger, and the lady in question is put on some sort of pedestal.

TMN:

What role does humor play in your work?

SS:

I really like to play around with humor. Being able to make somebody laugh out loud with an image I created is the best compliment. I’ve been making a lot of stop-motion animations on Vine lately, and humor also plays a huge role.

TMN:

Just checked out those Vines! They look great. I see you’re using the magazine cutouts there as well.

SS:

More than a year ago, I read a review of the Vine app, with some examples, and I really saw the potential. Making these collages, I work with a lot of found imagery, so it got me thinking: How could I animate some of these images, coming up with mini-stories? I’ve made over 300 vines to date and had the chance to make some branded vines as well. It’s a really fun and interesting addition to my other work.

TMN:

When was the last time you were surprised?

SS:

When making collages you can sometimes have these creative surprises. Two images that have no relation to each other whatsoever suddenly blend and get a new meaning and life. Those are really nice moments, so I am always on the lookout for those kinds of surprises.

TMN:

Are there other artists who create collages whose work you particularly enjoy?

SS:

There are a lot of good collage artists out there. Naming them all would be too difficult. I love browsing through Tumblr or Instagram to discover new works and artists that burst with creative potential.

Karolle Rabarison is at home wherever she can satisfy her coffee habit. She currently lives in Washington, DC. More by Karolle Rabarison