Cohort 52 is a platform for emerging voices from the Applied Art & Design program at Sierra College in Northern California. Cohort 52 is facilitated by Assistant Professor Vincent Pacheco.


Jashan Singh

I used to think collages were very hard to make perfect, but in reality it doesn’t have to be perfect.



Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? 

My name is Jashan (pronounced juh-shun) and I have always had a passion for all things that encompass design. I enjoy digital art, painting, crochet, and  I’m always open to trying new art mediums. In my free time, I garden and crochet while listening to Taylor Swift.



How much experience do you have with collage?

I’m not a professional, but I have done “junk journaling” during the Pandemic. That is probably the closest experience I have. Junk journaling is basically collaging, but it stays in a journal and many different materials are used to create organized chaos.


Collage artists tend to be picky when it comes to their source material. Can you talk about your approach for selecting your images and/or publications?

I used two magazines to help me make my collages. The first one is National Geographic’s Atlas of the Night Sky which happens to be my favorite magazine. This magazine contains many photos of galaxies and planets that were able to help me create my collages and make them all connect. The second magazine I used is the Artist’s Magazine Cover Stories for September/October 2023. This magazine contained art illustrations that helped me find subjects for my collages.


Were there any large themes you intended to explore or unpack before you began with this series of work? Did you stay on theme, or did things change as you began physically cutting and pasting images?

I wanted to focus on the theme of growing up and finding yourself. As I began to organize my collages, I found the theme of overcoming hardships. I tried to stay on theme as much as possible, but one can probably make up more themes the more they study and analyze it.


How did your background and life experiences inform your collages?

My experience with dealing with depression twice and being the first born child really shaped how I shaped my collages. I was able to focus on the struggle of dealing with problems by oneself. I was able to find pieces of myself through these magazines and put cutouts together to tell parts of my story.


What was your environment and set-up like when making the work? Did you listen to music? Did you work in isolation, or were you surrounded by distraction? Do you think this influenced the work you made?

I was blasting Taylor Swift and James Arthur at my desk in order to make this process relaxing. I did work in isolation since I work better without any distractions, I even do this with all my homework assignments. I had to kick my dogs out of my room at one point since I didn’t want my attention going anywhere else but my collages. I think this allowed me to pay more attention to my collage and really think about what I wanted to do.


Scissors or X-Acto?

X-Acto all the way! Scissors rarely cut straight enough lines, an X-Acto and a ruler always make the edges crisp and neat.


Was there anything unexpected that emerged while creating your work? Any new epiphanies?

Not really, I tend to plan out my moves since I don’t like surprises. I did try to experiment with different types of materials and decided to use some of my older work from journals.


Looking at your work again, has your understanding of your collages changed over time? Has any hidden meaning emerged?

Yes, I used to think collages were very hard to make perfect, but in reality it doesn’t have to be perfect. I was okay with the roughness and textures that ended up emerging from the different papers I used. I was able to take art from many different places and construct multiple new compositions.


Many artists are using the pandemic as a moment to pause and reflect. Do you think Covid-19 informed your work in any way? 

Yes, the pandemic has really changed my perspective of life. Things can change in an instant, it’s up to you to decide if you want to go through it with a positive or negative perspective. Unfortunately I got depressed, but was able to pull myself out of it. Now I am able to make art that expresses how I felt during a dark time.