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Eric Bruth: getting to know you

Updated: May 26

Eric is a collage artist who lives in a suburb south of Paris. That means he is going to be quite close to the eye of the hurricane for the summer of 2024. Exciting? Yes. Overwhelming? Perhaps.

The Olympic games will be turning the city into an overcrowded hornet’s nest, and a lot of Parisians (except those working in the hospitality industry) will surely be fleeing the area. I’m not certain about Eric’s plans for that time, but I wish him the best of luck. Perhaps, he could follow suit and do as is customary in Spain: take the month of August off in order to escape the hustle and bustle of the city.

In any case, I do hope he keeps on creating his mixed media collages and journals.

These small format works are delightfully straightforward. They are an unbeatable combination of decorative backgrounds and commanding central images. Very well thought out and adeptly executed. 

I think simplicity is one of Eric’s strengths. There’s effort involved in creating his collages, of course, but he makes it look easy. The ideas he develops retain a touch of sobriety and elegance, and that is tricky to accomplish. As I always say, editing is not for the faint of heart, and Eric demonstrates that he has a great eye for editing his images.

He also likes to utilize journaling, imbuing the work with a sense of continuity. With journaling, one can easily ascertain if progress is being made. Themes emerge one after the other as they bubble to the surface of the paper. It’s quite a thoughtful way of working.

The quotes he employs are also an interesting addition. Remarkably, he tends to develop the image first, and then the perfect words follow later. I find it quite intriguing.

Eric likes collage challenges. To be honest, I'm not a fan myself, but I can see why they have become popular in recent times. They provide direction, and they create connection among artists with very different styles and approaches. They are all about giving everyone the same thematic platform, the same starting point. You might find them reassuring. If so, go straight to IG where you will find a veritable jackpot of collage challenges. Why not?

And now, without any further ado, let’s get to know Eric Bruth in his own words. Enjoy!


When did you become acquainted with collage?

My artistic journey started quite late in my life. I haven’t really been involved in any artistic activities until fifteen years ago when I met someone who introduced me to the world of “mail art”. I was fascinated that people could exchange pieces of art through the postal system and decided that I would give a try. Being a computer addict since the age of 17 (I’m 58 now) I naturally started exploring digital art and digital collage. I was feeling more comfortable with a computer mouse in my hand than with a brush or a pair of scissors. For many years I was very active in the mail art movement, creating digital collages that I would print on paper that I would fold into envelopes.

After some time, through the development of Instagram, I discovered the world of mixed media art. The idea of mixing various technics was really appealing to me. Also I was starting to feel a bit frustrated by only using a computer. So one day, I decided to jump out of my comfort zone and to try the various technics of mixed media art. As I’m not really good at drawing or even painting, collage seemed to be the best for me. That was the start of my exploration of analog collage!


Do you have a singular style or do you experiment a lot?

I still consider myself as a beginner. So, I do not have a singular style yet. Maybe I will never have, I don’t know. But I do experiment a lot. I experiment with the technics, the media, the format, the subjects… One aspect that seems to be recurrent in my work is that I like simplicity. Several of my pieces are only made of a background (which requires sometimes a lot of work to create), a focal image and a quote. As I work mainly on art journal pages, I’m used to add a quote and finding consistency between the image, the background and the quote is part of the fun.


Which artist influenced you the most?

As far as collage is concerned, I have been very inspired by Rosie from @eastofhoney. I just love her work. I have also been very much inspired by the work of Mike Deakin (@mikedeakinart) and of Barbara from @49dragonflies.

What materials do you enjoy using?

I like using magazine pages for my focal images. Unfortunately, it’s more and more difficult to get good magazines for a low price so I also print a lot of my images from the internet using public domain images. I also like using vintage books and newspapers. I try to get them for cheap at thrift stores.

As far as tools are concerned I mainly use two pairs of scissors. One large on for the straight cuts and a precision scissor for the detailed images. I also have a scalpel for the finishing touch. Cutting is not my favorite part of the process, to be honest and sometimes I dream of a machine that would do it for me.

For glue I only use glue sticks. I never had any problems with them, and I find them easier to use. Wet glues always disappoint me as they leak everywhere. And dry glue (such as double sided tape) does not give me the wiggle room that I need to adjust the pieces.


What’s your current work like? Any recurring themes?

Currently I’m mainly working off challenges that I discovered on Instagram. Every week or month I get a prompt and I work on an Index card, an altered playing card or an art journal page. I’m also doing a 100-day project where I decorate 100 rolodex cards (both sides). This is an exhausting project as it means 200 collages in 100 days, but this is also a lot of fun. This is my third year doing the 100-day project. Last year I worked on altered playing cards, and the year before I worked on small tags.

I have a recurring theme (whenever I can use it). I’m a gay artist, so for sure my art is very much inspired from the gay world and gay culture. Since I was a kid I have been fascinated by bodybuilders, so whenever I can, I use images of handsome muscular men (some people call them eye candies) in my art. My best friend is a bodybuilder, and he is a constant source of inspiration for me.

Otherwise, nature is also a recurrent theme in my work. And I also create a lot of pieces with a vintage feel.

Can you describe your process?

Usually everything starts from an image. Something I see in a magazine, or on internet. Or even a photo I have taken. Then if this image qualifies to become the focal point of my creation, then I start to build a story around it. This story will help me to find the appropriate background and all the other pieces I want to add. For the background I can use paper only, but often I will add stamping or even paint.

Then I will try to find the best quote. It could be a quote from someone famous, or an extract of a book or poem, or even (and this is my favorite) a lyric from a song I like.

What is important for me is that the whole set is consistent and that it tells the story I had in mind.

When I started my artistic journey, I also had to plan everything before starting. I had to have a clear image of my page in mind, before gluing the first piece of paper. Nowadays I follow the flow of my inspiration and I adapt my final goal on what is happening at each step.

Can you tell us about your workspace?

Well… I don’t really have a workspace. I have a small table that I install in my living room. Originally the table was supposed to be installed at the start of any art session, and then uninstalled when finished. But then I kept the table from one session to another and started to accumulate a huge mess all around. So this is taking a big part of my living room now. My husband is always horrified when he sees it and I really thank him for his understanding.

Tell us about your plans and hopes for the future in relation to collage.


First, I would like to find a way to have a proper workspace. I dream of having a dedicated room. A place where I could store all my supplies and find them easily. I sometimes have the feeling that 50% of my creation time is spent searching for one tool or one magazine. This is sometimes very frustrating.

Then I would like to explore more the domain of “pure” collage. I have done some pieces that I really like, and I would like to do more. Currently I’m still very much dispersing myself into the various techniques of mixed media, but I would like to focus more on collage. I would like to try some challenges like the “one magazine” collage where you create pieces using images from only on magazine. Also I would like to work on bigger format. I have been working a lot on small ones: ATC, playing cards, index cards and even "inchies" or "twinchies". I would like to work on something larger and maybe on canvas.


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