Collage Constructions with Kike Congrains

 

Kike Congrains: Piecing together Canson City

Collage artist kike congrains has found a massive online following since creating his own multi-media world.

Kike Congrains is a Peruvian collage artist and the creator of Canson City,- translation: Construction (paper) City- where, naturally, he is also the Sheriff. Each of his works on paper are a part of the history and mythology of Canson City, with written stories that put these images in the larger and interconnected context of his fascinating world. By mixing his colorful paper palette with photographs found in vintage books and magazines Kike cuts bits of the world as we know it (told through pictures) and pastes them in to his vibrant city, resulting in a mixed-media hybrid of customs, values and historical traditions belonging simultaneously to both and neither world.

His works are full of life, humor, reflections on cultural narratives and socialized beliefs as well as his own cutting/slicing skills and storytelling talents. Here is just one of his many Terry Gilliam/Monty Python-esque tales that hold up the imagined walls of Canson City:

 
 
Delphinia will always be a mythical place for the residents of Canson City, just like Lemuria, El Dorado or Shangri-La for the rest of the world. For centuries its whereabouts were unknown until Sir Maximus Digby, explorer extraordinaire made the trip by boat and reached the legendary island. Upon arrival he was greeted by multicolored dolphins that frolicked along his ship and then ate him. The image is an interpretation of that journey by the greatest artist of the city, Jean-Jacques du Cartuline.

Delphinia will always be a mythical place for the residents of Canson City, just like Lemuria, El Dorado or Shangri-La for the rest of the world. For centuries its whereabouts were unknown until Sir Maximus Digby, explorer extraordinaire made the trip by boat and reached the legendary island. Upon arrival he was greeted by multicolored dolphins that frolicked along his ship and then ate him. The image is an interpretation of that journey by the greatest artist of the city, Jean-Jacques du Cartuline.

I asked Kike a few questions about his work and life and here's what he had to say:

Why collage? Is collage’s popularity is on the rise?

Collage is an art form that doesn't need previous experience or any training in art whatsoever, everybody has done one in some moment of their life even if they didn't they were making a collage. Collage is democratic. Yes, definitively on the rise, in this digital era many are going back to handmade, artisanal work. Doing handmade collage gives you some street cred instead of only doing it digitally.

Your collages have stories that add to their narrative depth and give them context within your Canson City, when and how do you develop these stories that correspond with the images you create?

All short stories in Canson City are written like an improv exercise. When finish a piece I take the picture and before uploading it, I write the story. It's important to me that each collage is not only visual but also readable, with a whole background that refers to the mythology of the city.

 
 
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What is it like to be an artist in Lima at the moment?

Lima is a great hotbed for art these days, lots of newcomers and veteran artists are having so much chances to exhibit their work to a wide audience of all kinds. New spaces are generated, mostly self-financed, to promote all kinds of art: music, dance, visual arts and so on.

You have a huge online presence and following, can you tell us about sharing your work online and the community you have cultivated there?

Networking is essential. You need to have online presence if you want to collaborate overseas or doing commission works. Personally, Facebook, Behance and Instagram are the social networks that every artist should have to promote their work. My advice to young artists is that they show their work always! Internet is a great tool to do it so, to transcend the public space of a gallery and to take your work on a worldwide basis!

Find more of Canson City at:

Facebook

Behance

Instagram

This interview was originally published in Living in Peru, June 2016.