Oliver Dunne & Siobhán Mc Cooey are collage-artists and writers. They come from Dublin, Ireland. They have been creating collage since the early 1990s. All their work is handmade, with scissors and glue, using old magazines and promotional material. They do not use Photoshop. Their photomontage mixes and layers different eras in order to cram a far deeper element of time into a small space than a photo could do. But their images are characterised above all by their humour and wit. Simply put, there is an abundance of very funny jokes! Their series The Pocket Royals ran in Punch, the famous British comic magazine, in the Queen’s Golden Jubilee year 2002. The series The Pocket Pope appeared in Hot Press, Ireland’s premier rock music magazine, in 1994/95. A second series, The Pocket Popes, was serialised in Hot Press from March 2000 to March 2001. An image from The Pocket Pope was used as the cover of Rita Ann Higgins’ book An Awful Racket (Bloodaxe Books, 2001). Their collages have also appeared in The Oldie, The Sunday Independent and Village Magazine. Their series in Punch and Hot Press ran as cut-out-and-keep collectable features. Notable editors they have worked with include Mohamed Al-Fayed (Punch) and Richard Ingrams (The Oldie). They have made portraits of over 100 subjects, both iconoclastic and photo-real: of people who many regard as fascinating. They see their work as continuing in the tradition of John Heartfield and the artists of the Weimar Republic. The employment of photos in collage for the purpose of satire comes under the international terms of ‘fair use’.
‘Absolutely first rate from my perspective. Keep doing what you’re doing, the world is in need of people like us.’
– Terry Gilliam (Monty Python)
The Pocket Satire series will make exceptional, fresh funny-boxes in newspapers and magazines. They are also suitable to be sold as books.
The Power and the Glory
This collection of close to 300 lampoons includes Royalty, Prime ministers, Presidents, World leaders, Dictators, Popes. — The villains and the saints of the 20th and 21st century.
This could run as a daily in a newspaper and would make a great coffee-table book.
My Corgis and I
This book or series covers the golden years of the British Royal family, before and after the Diana years. Over 50 satires suitable as a weekly series or a nostalgia, fun book.
Adolf Hitler in the Psychiatrist’s Chair
Over 50 images sending up Hitler and the Second World War.
The Pocket Popes
A century of Popes, over 50 heretical satires.
We also have series of
Pocket Prime Ministers of Britain
Pocket American Presidents
All of these would look great in a weekly newspaper, magazine, as a book, or in an exhibition. They would all also be very suitable as postcard books and would make wonderful merchandising.
THIS IS A SMALL EMPIRE OF DEBUNK with elements of celebration!
‘I love what I’ve seen. There’s no point in telling you how brilliant you are. Making a statement with cohesive and beautifully executed visuals is a rare talent. My grandfather believed in “art as a weapon” against hypocrisy, war, and power for power’s sake. You’ve honored his vision.’
‘They’re great. Really nice pictures and very funny.’
– Graham Rawle, ‘Lost Consonants’, The Guardian
‘Very good and very clever.’
– Roger Alton, Chief Editor of The Observer
– Lynn Staley, Art Director of Newsweek
THE POCKET POPE by OLIVER DUNNE & SIOBHAN MC COOEY
Known variously as collage, photomontage, or simply montage, the art of ‘cut & paste’, combining photographs from newspapers, magazines and so on, to create new images, is very much a 20th century art-form.
Certainly, it took off in the early 1920s and 1930s with figures such as Alexander Rodchenko and John Heartfield turning to montage as a tool for mass-communication. Another seminal figure of the time is Hannah Höch.
Heartfield, however, remains the ‘godfather’ of the particular direction that we have taken with the Pocket Pope—that of social comment and satire / humour.
His images during the ‘30s used montage to attack the policies and reveal the aggressive intentions of the Nazi elite. The magazine—Arbeiter-Illustrierte-Zeitung or A-I-Z—published many of his photomontages. This body of work remains one of the few instances of 20th century avant-garde art outside the Soviet Union which aimed at, and reached, a mass audience. The magazine collapsed in 1938, with the invasion of Czechoslovakia, and Heartfield fled to England.
As with Heartfield, our collages use a photo-real style to satirical purpose. Fifteen of our images appeared in the Irish fortnightly music magazine Hot Press, through 1994 and 1995, under the title The Pocket Pope. The images had a biweekly circulation of circa 20,000.
To the best of our knowledge, this was the first time since Heartfield that there had been a satirical photomontage series on a public figure, reaching a popular audience on a regular basis.
The subject in all the images of this series was Pope John Paul II (a later series, The Pocket Popes, which also ran in Hot Press, dealt with Popes more generally).
For the Pope material used in the series we scoured second-hand bookshops, markets, and Oxfam shops. There seemed to be a spate of Pope books being thrown away at the time. The images we used varied from almost A3 to postcard-size and smaller. A vital stage in production was when we colour-photocopied the original hand-made images to the size we wanted; and colour copying can vary considerably from day to day, depending on the toner and even the machine.
We use Pritt stick glue and a scissors, and, in rare instances, a scalpel. We have immense fun making these images, in what can be considered a modern form of alchemy, turning yesterday’s rubbish into tomorrow’s art, and taking what we are expected to accept—and turning it on its head.