J.D. Renaud got his start as a mixed-media collage artist in an unlikely way.
“Truthfully, (I started making collage because of) a terrible job,” he says.
“About five years ago, I just needed another creative outlet. I was moving around a lot of things in my home, and I had a big roll of old posters that I’d had since high school … So I decided, well I’ve heard about decoupage and collage ... so I’ll just see what I can do. I just started cutting them up and trying different things.”
He says that making collages was unexpectedly peaceful.
“Where some people might find it tedious to be with a ruler and an X-Acto knife for hours and hours on end creating strips and realigning things and holding things down and being very precise, I find it incredibly relaxing,” he says.
“Just the activity, at first, was just really good for me.”
Renaud has now progressed far beyond those initial experiments. He does collage full-time, slicing and dicing anything made of paper into his art works.
He has also been working as a curator and educator. At the beginning of 2018, he curated a cartoon animation themed show at The Handsome Daughter. He has also been hosting an event at the bar that he calls Collage Dropout.
It’s “basically like a paint night but for collage,” he says.
“Everyone comes in, I provide everyone with all the materials they need, canvases, brushes, glue, posters, anything they could ever want and ... we hang out for three or four hours. I don’t give any instructions (for) what they have to make.”
What began as a response to a bad job has now become Renaud’s job.
“I wake up, have breakfast, and I’m at my table for eight hours a day,” he says.
“Whether or not I sell what I make at the end of that day or not, I don’t know, I just hope I will. But it’s my job, and I’m so thankful for that.”
J.D. Renaud’s work can be found online at theplaceholdershow.com.
Published in Volume 73, Number 12 of The Uniter (November 29, 2018)