Artist Stephen Anderson Uses Collage to Question and Challenge

“Artists often shine a light on issues…(and) distill complex ideas,” Anderson says. The executive director of Orange County Center for Contemporary Art in Santa Ana is an accomplished photographer, filmmaker, musician, neon designer, sculptor, and pyrographer, but he considers collage to be the most immediate of those mediums. “An advantage of collage is that I can start a project off of an idea quickly, often being inspired by an advertising slogan, then find support images.”


“What are you made of?” deconstructs its marketing tag by supplying answers to the question in a series of provocative, popping images. At the top, the spiritual (in the symbol of an angel) takes a back seat to the passage of time; a man in a suit shows off his car as another in shirt sleeves stands by, less fortunate; there’s an empty ribcage, sans heart; at bottom, two pugilists do battle as a dollar bill hovers over them. “Art can move people to question what they know or have been conditioned to understand. … It’s a cliché, but …(artists) just see or notice things differently.”IMG_6038

“What are you made of?” (2010), pop-up collage on hand-cut wood, 5 1/8 inches by 9 3/8 inches by 6 inches. Courtesy of Bill and Lorraine Gallagher Collection

See It! Anderson’s Santa Ana studio is open by appointment. He can be reached at

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