Maximalism and Minimalism in Collage, part 3

“My scraps rarely get thrown away and are often the main inspiration for getting started on a piece.”
— Fred Free

Slowly open your eyes to find yourself in an oddly familiar space that is part tool & die shop, Zen garden, and hi-fi showroom. Mom is there in her polka-dot apron, and somewhere in the next room, The Adventures of Jonny Quest has gone to commercial break. It may well be a surreal warp in quantum time, but, more than likely, it is the distinctive world of a Fred Free collage.

I cannot say if Fred Free uses his given name or a pseudonym, but it has never really mattered to me. He is one of the most actively intriguing artists working in the medium today. His superb compositions often look more minimalist than they actually are, offering delightful complexities that blend a clearly restrained interplay of vintage ingredients and street rubbish with moods that fluctuate between reverence for lost motifs, wry humor, and a mild disenchantment with 21st-century culture. While cohering to a recognizably defined vision, FF skillfully explores the spectrum of minimalism to maximalism in collage. In spite of a “yesteryear” oeuvre, he makes adept use of online platforms and social networks, while also effectively promoting visual cross-pollination at Tumblr by “endorsing” other artists with his Variety Showcase.

fantasy f
Fred Free, 2005

to pay
Fred Free, 2007

Fred Free, 2008

digging for the foundations on
Fred Free, 2011

Fred Free, (date unknown)

Fred Free, 2013

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