Shane Wheatcroft’s Collages: Perfectly Coiffed Characters in a World of Suspense and Drama

“Tough Room” All images © Shane Wheatcroft, shared with permission

The vintage collages of Shane Wheatcroft are a modern twist on the vintage aesthetic. He transforms vintage advertisements and editorial spreads from publications by combining them with striking, suspenseful scenes. Kent-based artist Meredith Willson cuts vintage advertisements and editorial spreads into musings for professionally photographed people: a lady re-enacts an excruciating party scenario, a businessman envisions a healthy family gathering, and numerous characters contemplate events they probably keep secret.

Wheatcroft has been working with the medium for the past five years. His work includes a diverse range of collages, ranging from type-based solid messages to cheeky compositions that employ outdated headlines and ad slogans lampoon social norms. The new photographs, both surreal and amusing, have images from periodicals published between 1945 and 1975. They’re inspired by John Stezaker’s “now I’m a big fan of his work” comments. I’m working on a new series at the moment, and I attempt to represent everyday events and circumstances through the technique of collage.,” he adds. “They’re something between a Dalí portrait of Mae West and Coronation Street’s Mildred Wainwright.”

The primary portrait sets the mood for the work, according to Wheatcroft. The background image, furniture, and people are pasted on top of the main picture. Additional features include a second eye peering through a television set or frame on the wall, which constructs an evocative representation of a face. “I’ll frequently have a song or personal experience going through my mind that will become the piece’s theme,” he explains. “I spend hours trying to find a photo of the precise chair or individual that will suit. It's similar to putting together a jigsaw puzzle, only you don't have as many pieces.”

Lilford Gallery in Canterbury represents Wheatcroft. He creates a variety of flat collages and diorama-style pieces—see them close up on Instagram—and some works for purchase on Artfinder. (via Kottke)

“The Gables”
Left: “Private Eye.” Right: “Notice Me”
“You Are My Sunshine”
Left: “Parents Outgrown.” Right: “The Merry Widow”
“Did You Ever Really Love Me.”