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Art | The Bespokesperson

Mixed-media memories

A mother-and-sons team transforms mementos into striking custom collages

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Mixed-media memories

February 20 2013
Camilla Apcar

Forget dog-eared scrapbooks and photo albums stashed away for rainy day reminiscing, three American artists can transform these treasured memories into striking super-sized artworks. By creating custom collages, measuring up to 3m square, the Slade Project immortalises meaningful moments on canvas using its clients’ own photographs and trinkets – from guitar strings to autographed sportscards (first picture).

From a studio in Los Angeles, the Slade family –  CW and her two sons, Jesse and Dustin – begin with a consultation in person or by telephone, or Skype for their international clients, to discuss each unique piece. First a digital collage crafted from selected snapshots is printed as the base of the canvas, then mementos are incorporated to create thoroughly personal mixed-media pieces. These keepsakes are “instrumental to visualising the story shared within the artwork”, explains CW.

Up to 120 hours are devoted to each collage (from $6,000), with orders completed in about six weeks. Recent commissions have integrated travel maps to commemorate one couple’s intrepid adventures through 25 countries over 25 years (second picture); another weaves in a bride’s veil to give the fabric a new lease of life in an unusual way. The Slade website features a commission that tells the story of Alex Spanos, the US billionaire owner of American football team the San Diego Chargers (third picture).

Figurative drawings and touches of paint add the final layers of texture and colour to the Slade Project’s Rauschenberg-inspired style. The result is “a conversation piece” that the family “hope will become a legacy”.

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Digital arts