Mixed-media memories

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

Forget dog-eared scrapbooks and photo albums stashed away forrainy day reminiscing, three American artists can transform these treasuredmemories into strikingsuper-sized artworks. By creating custom collages, measuring up to 3m square, the Slade Project immortalises meaningfulmoments on canvas using its clients’ own photographs and trinkets – fromguitar 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 eachunique piece. First a digital collage crafted from selected snapshots isprinted as the base of the canvas, then mementos are incorporated tocreate thoroughly personal mixed-media pieces. These keepsakes are “instrumental to visualising the story shared within the artwork”, explains CW.

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Up to 120 hours are devotedto each collage (from $6,000), with orders completed in about six weeks. Recent commissions have integratedtravel maps to commemorate one couple’s intrepid adventures through 25countries over 25 years (second picture); another weaves in a bride’sveil 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 tothe Slade Project’s Rauschenberg-inspired style. The result is “a conversation piece” that the family “hope willbecome a legacy”.

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