Some of my students are creating collages loosely based on the work of artist, Rex Ray. The San Francisco based artist and former graphic designer creates gorgeous collages with layers of color, patterns and shapes, from the minimal to the ornate. He started making collages by cutting up magazines into interesting compositions after his day job as a graphic designer left him creatively stifled. He made hundereds of simple works, without judging them or over-thinking. (He clearly shut off his left brain.) He now sells his pieces in galleries as well as through Designer, Jonathon Adler.
I wanted to give the kids an inspirational spring board for this project. So I asked them to create an underwater fantasy garden or a garden found somewhere on another planet. (I even played The Beatles' Octopus's Garden to help transport their minds.) They first created their background atmosphere by painting their board with several colors without pre-mixing to give some added dimension to their piece. They could then use magazines, leftover textured paper, and scrapbook paper to create shapes for their fantasy worlds. I've encouraged them to repeat some of their papers and shapes to keep the viewer's eye moving and use the design principle of repetition.