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Surreal Collage Portraits Offer a Look Into the Mind’s Eye of People From the Past

Collage Art by Shane Wheatcroft

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Creating a collage allows an artist to recontextualize something—to give it new meaning beyond its original intent. Artist Shane Wheatcroft blends and rearranges vintage advertisements and editorial spreads into new and often more mysterious meanings. Some of his most striking pieces fuse portraiture with seemingly disparate symbols of interior spaces, home goods, and beyond. The results are an alluring combination of the past from a contemporary point of view, remixed with surrealism in mind.

Wheatcroft’s collages offer a look inside the psyche of the people he portrays. In many of these images, the hair and attire of the person are kept intact; it’s the facial features that have been replaced by the imagery of someone turning on a television or waiting to serve a cup of tea. Each set of cutouts is different, but there is a constant throughout. One eye of the person he’s depicting always remains, telling the viewer that we’re looking into the mind’s eye of the character.

Steeped in symbolism, there are multiple ways to read one of Wheatcroft’s collages. He does, however, offer some insight into the meaning behind a recent favorite of his titled Time is Waiting in the Wings. “This piece is about the aging process,” he tells My Modern Met, “when you still feel 18, but you look in the mirror and see that you're not anymore, and wondering where the time went. It's loosely inspired by the song ‘Time' by David Bowie. A lot of my ideas are triggered by music and lyrics, especially Bowie as I've listened to him pretty much non-stop since I was a kid.”

Scroll down for more of Wheatcroft’s works. You can purchase his collages on Artfinder.

Artist Shane Wheatcroft gives new meaning to vintage magazine graphics with his surreal collage art.

Vintage Collage Art by Shane Wheatcroft

“Time is Waiting in the Wings”

Collage Art by Shane Wheatcroft

Some of his most striking pieces fuse portraiture with seemingly disparate symbols of interior spaces, home goods, and beyond.

Collage Art by Shane Wheatcroft

The results are an alluring combination of the past from a contemporary point of view, remixed with surrealism in mind.

Vintage Collage Art by Shane WheatcroftVintage Collage Art by Shane WheatcroftVintage Collage Art by Shane Wheatcroft

Wheatcroft’s collages offer a look inside the psyche of the people he portrays.

Vintage Collage Art by Shane WheatcroftVintage Collage Art by Shane Wheatcroft

Each set of cutouts is different, but there is a constant throughout.

Vintage Collage Art by Shane WheatcroftVintage Collage Art by Shane Wheatcroft

One eye of the person he’s depicting always remains, telling the viewer that we’re looking into the mind’s eye of the character.

Vintage Collage Art by Shane WheatcroftVintage Collage Art by Shane WheatcroftVintage Collage Art by Shane WheatcroftVintage Collage Art by Shane WheatcroftVintage Collage Art by Shane WheatcroftVintage Collage Art by Shane WheatcroftVintage Collage Art by Shane WheatcroftShane Wheatcroft: WebsiteArtfinder | Instagram 

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Shane Wheatcroft.

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Vintage Photos Fuse to Create Fantastically Surreal Landscape Collages

Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met, Manager of My Modern Met Store, and co-host of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.
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