Digital Collage: Brandon Bliesner



Final Digital Collage by Brandon Bliesner, October 2018

For this project, I knew immediately that I wanted to create something that would pay respect to Mac Miller as he passed away recently. I wanted to create a retro, colorful image that had something to do with Mac. So, I came up with “Legends Die Young.” Instead of just using Mac Miller, I also chose to use pictures of James Dean, Aaliyah, Jimi Hendrix, and John Lennon. These celebrities all died at a rather young age, and all were artists in their own ways, so I thought that they fit well together.

I found all of these images by using Google. I tried to find pictures that contained a lot of emotion in the character’s faces or a specific vibe they gave off. The color also fits the retro vibe I was going for, as well as the way the characters are styled in their individual pictures. I also tried to place the characters and background images in a way that made the eye follow from the bottom to the top. I feel that the horizontal line from the left corner in conjunction with the guitar and the second horizontal line under Hendrix allows for a well-created composition overall.

I hope that viewers can see that this is in homage to legends that have died young as that was my main purpose in creating the image. By including the snippets of fans throughout the image, I was trying to show that they had fame. However, I understand that some people may not know the people I have chosen to showcase, and so if there is confusion in that area I apologize. At the same time, these people were very famous and so it should be rather easy to understand the image without having too much background context. Either way, I wanted the viewer to also appreciate the work that I did to make the background of the image come together. I just used basic shapes in Photoshop but I was really happy with the end result.

In Photoshop I used a lot of the selection tool, messing with that, figuring out how I wanted to cut things out. I went through each picture individually to get my selections cleaner and then I applied color filters to each picture to make them look better as a whole. I used a bunch of basic shapes that Photoshop already had and then changed the colors to something that would work with the character’s colors. I also added a bunch of grain to the picture to give it a more vintage feel. There was a lot of moving things around, erasing parts of each image, cutting, pasting, some more cutting, and then finally I was left with the end piece.

I tried to make this piece look as though it could be created digitally or by using physical materials. I think that the image looks as if someone might have just cut pictures out of a magazine and then pasted it all together. I’ve seen a lot of collages on Instagram where they will put a bunch of pictures of the same artist into one image, and I thought that looked pretty cool. But I also wanted it to have a vibe to it, which many of those do not. I was also influenced by the work we saw in the readings. I wanted to make it look like it was cut and pasted, which I believe it does.

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