Ryan Doyle and Mark Edwards who make up DR.ME studio have been working with collage for several years now. In fact, the mixed media pursuit has come to form a large part of their personal practice alongside more commercial jobs for clients like Tate Modern and Ninja Tune. In one of their most recent ventures with paper and scissors, the duo has worked with cut-outs of one the most famous families in the world: the residents of 742 Evergreen Terrace.
Titled Art Simpson II, the publication is a follow-up to a project Ryan and Mark produced almost ten years ago called Art Simpson which asked contributors to draw Bart from memory. “There was always the idea at the back of our minds to do a follow-up to the original Art Simpson where it would basically follow the same format, but that idea kind of fell by the wayside (for now…),” they explain. “Then we were approached by ZineTent who will be publishing Art Simpson II to create a series of collage-based works featuring The Simpsons – we said yes straight away.”
The brief was simple: use Tim from ZineTent’s old Simpsons comics and run with it. For Ryan, the project was a particularly nostalgic one, he tells us: “The Simpsons for me, as with most kids who grew up in the 90s, was an integral part of my childhood. I would get a VHS every Christmas and collected all the memorabilia – my mum used to even get first dibs on the life-sized cardboard cutouts in HMV so when they were finished with them she would get them and I would hang them in my room, I still have them in my mum’s loft.”
This sense of nostalgia and familiarity exists throughout Art Simpson II, where simple compositional elements are instantly recognisable. In one image, eyes are placed on a group of cacti, giving each plant a distinct character. In another, Marge’s hair has been removed and in its place are three arches of a bridge. It’s nods like these that make the zine such a joy to flick through, appealing to die-hard fans and those just happy to look at some cleverly composed collages.
To juxtapose the bold, cartoon imagery, Ryan and Mark utilised renaissance artworks, making the flat colours of The Simpsons all the more pleasing. While the choice of these background images was also a reference to the zine’s name, the pair explains that “most of them we just stumbled upon during the whole process. It’s one of the joys of making collage work by hand, rifling through old photographic books and finding pieces you never really imagined beforehand.” As with all of their collage work, all the images used in Art Simpson II were found in printed magazines and books, “rather than getting lost in an internet hole on Google image search.” The analogue nature of the project gives the zine a warmth, like flicking through a box of old, well-thumbed magazines found under your bed – you recognise almost everything, but there are still a few surprises in there.
Art Simpson II is currently crowdfunding on Kickstarter and you can help support the project here.
About the Author
Ruby joined the It’s Nice That team as an editorial assistant in September 2017 after graduating from the Graphic Communication Design course at Central Saint Martins. In April 2018, she became a staff writer and in August 2019, she was made associate editor. Get in contact with Ruby about ideas you may have for long-form stories on the site.