The Art of Digital Collage

Juan Carlos García is a graphic designer and art director whose love of music heavily influences his work. Juan Carlos incorporates vintage photographs of celebrities and strangers alike to create new images in which he can imagine fresh stories for the subjects. 

Juan’s collages take an artistic twist on old photographs, contrasting them with various elements of flowers, celestial images and other photographs to create a story. His work often shows the subjects in black and white, while the background pops with colour, creating a divergence of tone. In other images, the entirety of the collage is completely muted, dramatically altering the mood. 

Juan utilizes nostalgia of the past through his images and takes a modern twist on what these photographs mean. He connects the past to the present, allowing the images to speak for themselves while also creating a new lens for the audience to see them through. 

We had the opportunity to speak to Juan and learn a little more about what influences him and where his inspirations come from… 

THE PLUS: Tell us more about yourself.

Juan Carlos García: I am a Spanish graphic designer and art director, fascinated by the world of collage, music, design and of everything that has to do with the universe and cosmology.

TP: Your older work features a lot of 20th century musicians and films. Do you have a particular interest in any specific era and where does this interest come from?

JCG: I love black music in general, I have been a dj for many years and I have always been influenced by jazz and funk in my sessions. I love the aesthetics of the movies of the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s, that natural noise and nostalgia that remind me of my adolescence.

TP: We love your jazz series with portraits including Nina Simone and Ella Fitzgerald! Is there any particular musician or album you like to listen to when you’re trying to get into the “creative zone”?

JCG: The truth is that jazz has always helped me to create, although I also listen to a lot of 90’s rap. Right now I’m really into lo-fi and instrumental music in general, it helps me concentrate.

TP: Where did the inspiration to incorporate floral designs into your more recent work come from?

JCG: Flowers are nature’s way of attracting the attention of insects, nature’s way of creating beauty for a purpose. I can’t think of anything better and more aesthetic to incorporate into art.

TP: Are the vintage-style portraits you use (that aren’t recognisable artists) photos of random people and where did you find them?

JCG: Yes, they are very old photos, I like to imagine the life of those people and their circumstances when those photos were taken. I have found many of them in second-hand markets and many others on the internet.

TP: What programmes do you work with?

JCG: I almost always use Photoshop, After Effects and Illustrator.

TP: How do you see the digital art world being shaped by social media?

JCG: It is a complicated issue, because the algorithms force you to have a very high creation rhythm and it is not always possible… I know incredible accounts with incredible designs and work that barely has any recognition and I think that art should be separated a little from all of this.