Interview: Max-o-matic

1. Please, introduce yourself, tell us a little bit about you.

My name is Máximo Tuja; i make collages under the name of Max-o-matic – name inspired by J.E. Fassio´s machine to read Julio Cortazar´s novel Hopscotch. I was born in 1975 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. I live in Barcelona since 2002. I´m a designer, illustrator, collage artist and I´m about to become a rock star 🙂 These days I´m obsessed with making collages over a golden background.

2. Recent, current or future projects you are involved in that you would like to share with us?

Along with Rubén B, I´m curating The Weird Show and it´s upcoming shows in New York (co-curated with Charles Wilkin) and Montreal (co-curated with Alan Ganev). We also published our first book in The Weird Press. I took part recently in the Age of Collage Shows (Berlin and Hamburg) curated by Dennis Busch. For the last months i´ve been working on collages with gold, black and white and I´m trying to move on to another thing because I still like it, but i´m getting bored of it.

3. What kind of things do influence your work?

My work is mainly influenced by limits. I enjoy working under the pressure of stupid rules that limit my options and boost my creativity. Even though many people think that collage is a limited technique to express ideas or feelings, I believe that there are so many ways to approach a collage and so many sources to scout images that i might be overwhelming sometimes and all these possibilities may bring up too many decisions to the working table. So many times i enjoy inventing rules (almost mathematical rules) as if collage was something that could be measured and planned. It´s a way to confront the physical, intuitive and wild side of collage with an imposed rationalism to arrive to new and fresh results.

4. How is your normal process of collaging? (idea or commission, where do you get your materials or find your images, which is your cutting technique, best way you have found to paste, where do you work and how, and very important: what do you do with your scraps)

Most of the times I start with a general idea of what I want to transmit. Then I often define the “production rule” that will guide my process; this is a simple rule that I will have to stick to in order to produce that particular series of collages. Next step is to scout for books and magazines to cut. For this purpose I have a personal collection of books and magazines that is always growing. Depending on what I want to say in this collages I will pick one or other book. I do not look for THE right image, but a general feeling of all the images. Before this process, most of the times I have decided a color palette that I will use and that helps me to find “the book”. Usually I select a couple of books or magazines and I only work with two or three books at a time -I can´t work with 10 books on the table. Next step is starting to cut; i use a x-acto knife and scissors. I cut for hours without evaluating what i´m cutting and what i will do with that. I form small piles of cuts and I always leave the scraps near, in a place where I can easily see them. After hours, days or sometimes weeks of cutting (depending the project) I start composing and finding stories living in all these images that I had cut. Most of the times my initial idea has evolved into something new. Next step is to glue the pieces. Most of the times I like brutal and expressive glueing. I love seeing how the glue is present in the piece; when I want this I use regular liquid glue. And if I want to keep it neat, i use the good old UHU stick (or Pritt, that´s most common in Spain).

About scaprs: scraps are as important as cuts in my collage work. I never throw them away and most of the times are key elements in my collages. Most of the times the things that i had cut during long periods are just the excuse to get some interesting scraps.

5. Wich is your latest discovery in the collage world? What advice can you give to a collage beginner?

Latest discovery: Tamar Cohen. I recently I re-discovered her work and fell in love with it. Beautiful, subtle and really different from most of the stuff that´s flooding internet nowadays.

Three little pieces of advice for upcoming collage stars: Don´t look too much what other people are doing. Follow your instinct and work (very) hard. Don´t take this too seriously.

6. What do say your friends/family about your collage work? And, what do you do when you are not working on art?

My friends and family are in between “I don´t understand really much what you do” and “I´m glad that you´re enjoying doing this stuff that you love”. A mix of curiosity and support.

When I´m not doing collage I´m working on design projects, playing football with my kid, running, playing guitar, reading on the S2 train or maybe getting something to eat because  I am almost always hungry.

7. Would you like to ask anything to John Baldessari? Shoot.



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