Interview: Jens Wortmann

First the basic introduction – Can you tell me who are you, what are you doing, where are you coming from?

My name is Jens Wortmann. I live and work in Aachen, Germany. My creative work clearly focuses on paper art, mainly paper collages.

Why collages? How did you start to cut and paste?

Putting together fragments becoming a harmonious whole is very fascinating to me. I love to create something new using old photos, cuttings from newspapers and paper elements. I created my first paper collages at the age of 14 or 15. I first came in touch with it in art lessons at our school. I was so fascinated that I kept on cutting and pasting. Composing collages used to be a way of relaxing and clearing my mind. This hasn’t changed for more than 25 years.

What’s the best part of the collaging process?

When I start to work I almost never have any idea of what I want to express with the respective work, i.e. the creative process for each work is the same: I get packs of old newspapers and start browsing through them to find some interesting pieces for my collage. Finding the main element of my collage (mostly a part of a face) is the “best part”.

And then, what’s the hardest part?

Finding hundreds of other paper shreds fitting in with the main element!

Do you have favorite materials, or do you like the challenge of working with something new?

Most of the material I use for my work is in old magazines from the 1950s or 1960s or old books you can find in old banana boxes offered at a jumble sale. Paper is the only material I use for my works. Mixed collages consisting of cords, scraps of cloth, glitter, and glittering sand are pretty awful.

How often you create art? And then, how long your art sessions last?

I spend 2 – 3 evenings a week cutting and pasting (often far into the night) as I only stop working when work is actually finished. Only a very few works were created in several sessions, and I really don’t like those works that much as due to interruptions there is no continuous “flow”.

In your artworks, what are the most important things/elements to yourself?

For me, it is very important that all elements perfectly match and that there are colors perfectly complementing each other.

Your works often revolve around human faces and characters, what draws you to these kinds of themes?

I didn’t do it that way all the time. Lots of my older works have different motifs, but you are right, during the last few years I have focused on (mainly feminine) faces although in many of my works female faces are complemented by a number of male elements (you can’t see that at first sight). For me, the human face is something like the basis of my collage and the eye-catcher of each work. In most cases, these faces consist of many elements pasted together. If a new “being” is created at best, I’m very glad about that.

What keeps you collaging? What excites you about it?

I love to reuse old newspaper material nobody else would ever look at and to transform it into a totally different context.

If you should describe your art with one word, what would it be?


Jens Wortmann around the internet

Instagram: @jens_wortmann