Artist combines interchangeable puzzle parts to make his own montage puzzle art.
Puzzle enthusiast Washington-based artist Tim Klein has been creating montages out of jigsaw puzzles for 25 years. For his work, Klein uses vintage puzzles from the 1970s-90s, the selection of which can take years: “It’s an obsessive but enjoyable treasure hunt,” he says.
Tim Klein got inspired by the master of puzzle montage Mel Andringa who has perfected this art for over 50 years and was the first to experiment with puzzle montages in the 1960s.
“The imagery in jigsaw puzzles published nowadays tends to be very busy, often consisting of densely-packed collages constructed with Photoshop,” says Klein. “But for my purposes, I favor puzzles from pre-digital years, when the picture was typically a photograph of a single subject, such as a galloping horse or a ballerina or the Empire State Building.”
But it’s not as simple as throwing some pieces together, as Klein notes:
“Over the years I’ve developed an intuitive feel for spotting [puzzles] that are likely to be useful to me, based on their imagery, brand, age, piece count, etc. But even so, matching up vintage puzzles takes luck, patience, and the tenacity of a treasure hunter! I own stacks and stacks of puzzles that I call my “art supplies”, some of which have been waiting years for a suitable mate to appear”
Take a look at some of his surreal creations!
“Schools (Fishing For Answers)”
Made using pieces from two Hallmark puzzles from the 1970s, one showing a comically unsuccessful fisherman, and the other showing the answers to a blank crossword puzzle that was printed on the box. I like the fact that the school at the lower left has “arcana” at its core. (Aristotelian arcana, no less!)
Made from the pieces of two small Puzzlebug brand puzzles, one showing a bunny and one showing a dinosaur under a full moon.
“White Elephant (Present And Future)”
Made from pieces of two Springbok puzzles published in 1978 and 1980.
“T’ Rainosaurus Rex”
“Pig Jaw Suzzle #2”
“Pig Jaw Suzzle #1”
Made from the pieces of two small Hallmark “greeting card” puzzles from the 1980s.
“The Other Side”
Made from two American Publishing Company puzzles from the 1980s. Most of my puzzle montages are in a single plane, with pieces from the two source puzzles intermixed. But in this one, the coins puzzle is on top of the puzzle containing the eyes, resulting in a two-layered piece. Thus, the eyes look into the viewer’s eyes from the other side of a wall of gold.
“The Mercy-Go-Round (Sunshine And Shadow)”
I made this montage by combining a Puzzlebug-brand puzzle showing a church with another one showing a carnival ride. I’ve been a bit surprised at the wide range of reactions it gets. Some people find it humorous, others find it affirming or joyful, and others see it as blasphemous or insulting.
“King Of The Road”
Constructed from two Springbok puzzles from the 1970s.
“How The West Was Won”
“Thaw (Warm Breath On A Winter Window)”
Perhaps this montage was too easy! After all, the pieces came from two puzzles showing the same scene. They were Milton Bradley puzzles from the late 1960s, taken from a set of “four seasons” paintings by Paul Detlefsen. (When I show this one in public, I credit it to “Tim Klein, after Paul Detlefsen”.) At the bottom of the “thawed” circle, where green spring meets white winter, the curvature of the puzzle pieces gives a nice melting effect. It’s as if you, seeing the winter scene through a window, have breathed upon the glass and magically revealed a glimpse of the warm spring to come.
Made from two small panoramic Perfect Fit brand puzzles.
“The Dance Of The Bathroom Cleaning Fairies”
Made from two Springbok puzzles published in the 1980s.
“The All-Seeing Elephant”
Made from two Springbok puzzles from 1979 and 1980.
Tim Klein: Website | Facebook