2D Design: Purposeful Play

About the Project

Play is often thought of as a tool for children. To a child, play is serious business. But purposeful play is a tool for all of us to investigate and understand the world, our relationships, and ourselves. Play allows us to reflect on the past, interpret the present, and imagine the future. In this very open assignment, I was tasked to return to play as a way to investigate materials, techniques, relationships, and context.

My Process

In this project, I was tasked with creating 4 collages. They could vary in compositional size, subject, matter, degrees of representation, and method of collage. On the first day of the project, I had to find 20 images that I found interesting in any way, and use those images to create my own compositions. I could use as many images I wanted, but to start the project I needed at least 20. I used images from magazines, birthday cards, catalogs and newspapers, old flyers and books. Anything I could find that had interesting visuals. I could arrange these images in any way I wanted, use any method or material to adhere or connect images, and basically I had a ton of artist freedom.

The Final Products


Being that I just turned 21 years old and still feel like a kid in a lot of ways, so play for me has always been about doing whatever sounds fun or interesting at the moment. I think the most common method of problem solving that I used was to transform a common object. Almost in all of my collages, I decided to use several found objects and depicted them in ways that you wouldn’t normally think about. For example, to make clouds in the city I created in one of my collages, I used a Christmas card I received from my Grandparents over break and cut out cartoony shapes of clouds to kind of exaggerate the fact that this is an imagined space.

Another example of this was used in another collage, where I used some juice with cranberries being poured from a juice ad to simulate a waterfall appearing from within the rocks in the cliff. In previous projects, such as Gestalt Principles and in Balancing Variety, I used the technique of creating thumbnails to curate ideas. The technique that helped me the most of all the exercises that we have been assigned is probably the Organizing Color Exercise (pictured below). It was helpful to make a color wheel myself and to be able to picture what colors work together better than others.