Fred Free‘s collages are a wonderful exercise in design, a process of free form image making that begins with a single image, a random piece of text that, like a single note, builds a visual melody, a jazz riff of pictures, words and empty spaces.
In much the same way as the Dadaists used automatic writing and cut up techniques to awaken the unconscious Free plays with the remnants of the past to create a new multi faceted picture that invites the viewer to invent their own narrative, a pop culture story that has a clean, minimal, graphic aesthetic.
Free has been making art for over 40 years and in that time has designed buildings, illustrated how-to books for two television series and has been collaborating with some of Americas most well renowned collage artists including Zach Collins whose work continues to push the form forward.
His work is a wonderful example of contemporary collage, a commingling of 20th modernism and pop culture. It is both literate and visual, a confluence of ideas that explore new connections in a world that is super saturated and hyper connected. In his statement in the ABC Artists Book Cooperative he has this to say about his work:
Fred Free’s work explores purposeful randomness, overlooked fragments, figments of imagination, invented memories, time travel, unidentification, disconnects, reconnects, edges, empty spaces, places between, hands, words, codes, numbers, lists, loss, love, humor, glue and paper.