February 2009 Archives

Molly Bosley - Notpaper

Molly Bosley

Molly gets inspiration from other people's old family photographs--and how could she not? I also find them pretty inspiring. Her style is great, and though most of her collages are pretty different from each other, she coordinates them well with the vintage elements she uses.

Molly Bosley
www.flickr.com/photos/mustardfestival
Brooklyn, NY

Q: Describe your work in 10 words or less.
A: Intimate narratives at memory, mundane life, childhood , voyeurism and dreams.

Q: What do you like to work with (magazines, photographs, vintage)? Be specific!
A: Old Paper. I love working with anything that looks used and has the feeling that there's a story behind it. I collect old textbooks, encyclopedias, children's books, pamphlets etc etc. But what really makes me the happiest is other people's family photographs. It brings out something inside of me that I don't get from anything else. I think I just get so excited thinking about these people's lives and what it must have been like at that time. Photographs are tangible documents of memory and I think that's so beautiful, even if it's not my memory.

Q: How long have you been creating collages and what made you start?
A: I started experimenting with different materials in my artwork when I was very little. I would make things out of recycled materials and things I found outside like bottle caps, acorns, sticks and leaves. I would put these things in my sculptures, collages and drawings. I only seriously started collaging in the last few years when I started collecting old books and realized that's what I had been waiting for to find my unique style.

Q: Are you solely an artist, or do you work in another profession?
A: Unfortunately, I have the office job, which fills most of my days. I'm not there yet but I hope someday I can focus solely on my art.

Q: Do you have any formal art training?
A: Yes, I studied studio art at the University of Vermont.


Q: Explain your favourite techniques.
A: I really love to experiment with new techniques that I can combine into my pieces. I have been playing around with image transfers, using a gel medium and acetone. I am always researching alternative crafts. I think it's great to show a variety of looks in one piece. I also knit, embroider and sew.

Q: Describe your favourite piece ever created.
A: I don't think I could ever just pick one piece. I do fall in love with my pieces. They aren't finished until I love them. The piece I'm working on currently might be my favourite when it's finished. It's cut paper silhouettes, layered and put into a sort of diorama.

Q: What other artists do you admire?
A: Robert Rauschenberg, Dasha Shishkin, Eduardo Recife, Tez Humphries and a lot of other people who are just starting out.

Thanks Molly!

Mrs K - Notpaper

Mrs K

Mrs K's collages are not for the faint at heart. She uses drawing and collage to create very moving and sometimes disturbing images. I find something so unusual and--therefore so interesting--about her work.

Mrs K aka Kenobitta
www.flickr.com/photos/mrsk_works
Madrid, Spain

Q: Describe your work in 10 words or less.
A: Emotional, ironical, and a pain in the ass.

Q: What do you like to work with (magazines, photographs, vintage)? Be specific!
A: Most of all, vintage newspapers. I love the colours and the texture of the old paper, and to discover hidden memories or forgotten historical facts from the past, and to move them to the present to create weird effects on the image.

Q: How long have you been creating collages and what made you start?
A: I remember myself as a child always cutting out things. The first collage I made was made with little cars from an advert and I pasted them on my bedroom wall. My mother was very angry. I am fascinated with silhouettes, and to cut out things is a way to define its shape and therefore its identity.

Q: Are you solely an artist, or do you work in another profession?
A: We live bad times for the lyric and it's even worst when it concerns finding a job.


Q: Do you have any formal art training?
A: I have a degree in Fine Arts, where I learned how to be informal.

Q: Explain your favourite techniques.
A: Cut out papers, Glue, ink and colours felt tip pen.

Q: Describe your favourite piece ever created.
A: My favourite piece is the one to come.

Q: What other artists do you admire?
A: Debens, Cless, Max-o-matic, 9000.

Thanks Mrs K!

André Bergamin - Notpaper

André Bergamin

Andre's collages are mostly digital, but that's okay because they are stunning! He of course makes use of techniques that are difficult--if not impossible--to do by hand, creating lively scenes and situations with an abundance of detail from charming fifties magazines.

André Bergamin
www.flickr.com/photos/andrebergamin/
Porto Alegre, southern Brazil.

Q: Describe your work in 10 words or less.
A: A sincere attempt to provoke astonishment with rough graphic compositions.

Q: What do you like to work with (magazines, photographs, vintage)? Be specific!
A: I work mainly with vintage illustrations from old magazine ads and from animal illustrated encyclopedias from the 80's. I have a major interest in vintage advertising and propaganda, and the way it explores icons that have always been so deeply ingrained in the collective unconscious. The pictures found in 50's magazine ads seem to have such a striking graphical rhetoric and thus one can not, as I believe, be affected by seeing it. The old animal encyclopedias for me had a great impact upon my imagination since I grew up surrounded by this stuff. These illustrations are just beautiful (most of them were done by real artists) and have a sort of fantastic attribute that always amuses me.

Q: How long have you been creating collages and what made you start?
A: Working with collages is a pretty recent thing for me. But having said that, if I come to think about it, all other graphic design and art direction work I have done is basically a kind of collage since it involves using lots of sliced up images and patterns and textures and mixing it up with type. I kind of believe that collage is the main artform of postmodernism and that you can identify it in lots of contemporary art, advertising and even in music. Since we have no more modernist avant garde movement to follow, everything is nothing less than a big cut and paste of different sources and references.

Q: Are you solely an artist, or do you work in another profession?
A: I am a freelance graphic designer and I have formerly worked in some design studios and advertising agencies.

Q: Do you have any formal art training?
A: Not really. I graduated with a bachelor degree in Communication (with emphasis in advertising and propaganda) at PUCRS (Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio Grande do Sul) and I am finishing a major in Graphic Design at UNISINOS (Universidade do Vale do Rio dos Sinos). I have plans in attending some drawing and painting courses though.


Q: Explain your favourite techniques.
A: Basically what I do is to mix up digital collages with some selfmade interferences like handmade illustrations and all sorts of vintage textures. Unfortunately its unusual for me to use handmade collage since I use lots of 50's magazines and where I live it is kind of hard material to amass. Also I have lots of borrowed stuff and I just cannot slice up my friend's grandma's Life magazine collection. But, when possible, I really enjoy to spend hours search for the right image, cut it with a surgical scalpel blade and glue it altogether in the paper.

Q: Describe your favourite piece ever created.
A: Since it's kind of cliche to say that the favourite piece is the latest one, I will say that one remarkable work I did lately was the art for the website a streetwear shop; an associate of mine did the flash programming--he is very good, his name is Gabriel Giacomini--and it was very interesting to design something for web (which is unusual for me) that is supposed to move and to interact.

Q: What other artists do you admire?
A: Marcel Duchamp, Toulouse-Lautrec, Ladislav Sutnar, Richard Hamilton, Terry Gilliam (who did the Monty Python cartoons) and the punk collage art of Winston Smith.

Thanks André!

Kraffhics - Notpaper

Kraffhics

Kraffics is an artist collective that does all kinds of design and art work. This includes some really bright, edgy collages. I'm wondering if they work on them collaboratively, because the style makes very smooth transition from piece to piece. I've included some of their design work as well, because I feel it belongs in this showcase. Excellent team work!

Name (Real or Screename): Kraffhics
URL (Blog, Website): www.kraffhics.com
Location (Where are you from?): Leeds, UK

Q: Describe your work in 10 words or less.
A: Colourful, bright, we give every piece life.

Q: What do you like to work with (magazines, photographs, vintage)? Be specific!
A: Vintage. I go to the local charity shop and find lovely books, I can't give too much away. But go to your local charity shop you will find your next piece in there.

Q: How long have you been creating collages and what made you start?
A: Been doing collages for about year. We used to do miniature scale sets but I feel you can really open your mind to collages.

Q: Are you solely an artist, or do you work in another profession?
A: We do what we feel is best. If its a strong idea we go with it, it doesn't have to be a collage.


Q: Do you have any formal art training?
A: No, the Kraffhics quote is "You don't need a piece of paper to tell you you're an artist." We respect all new artists who are just going straight into the game.

Q: Explain your favourite techniques.
A: Cut and stick. Not thinking too much into the piece.

Q: Describe your favourite piece ever created.
A: There are so many, but the one I like is maybe the Garry Glitter piece. So easy and it says so much.

Q: What other artists do you admire?
A: The people we work with, Ian Stevenson, Brecht Vandenbroucke, Sergei Sviatchenko, and many others but they are the main folk. :)

Thanks Kraffhics!

Kariann Burleson - Notpaper

Kariann Burleson

I love using vintage materials in collage, and Kariann does it in such a way that amazes me. It's so different, she uses such a variation of materials and yet she has a really fluid style. I recommend you take a look at her collages, she has such a collection!

Kariann Burleson
www.dailypoetics.com, http://flickr.com/photos/dailypoetics/
Midwest, USA

Q: Describe your work in 10 words or less.
A: Circumstantial. Accidental. Constellating: inspiration + intuition + paper + glue = inside story.

Q: What do you like to work with (magazines, photographs, vintage)? Be specific!
A: Graphics + words, vintage, random fragments, textures, perhaps wallpaper, book pages, calling cards, postcards, ledgers, sheet music, receipts, paintings, letters and portions of book cover--anything old torn apart. Paper and ephemera, materials that probably qualify as any or all of the following: precious, abandoned, discarded, refused, remaining, patina, sediment, stained, unwanted, underneath, behind, humble, unnoticed, mundane, found, delicate, ignored, sentimental. Found vintage photographs--I often like to use them as a starting point. I am seized with wonder--of the stories, the lives that are for but a second, captured and documented within those photographs.

l start on the note of a feeling, of wonder, and follow it through to a almost satisfaction. Old leltraset and other transfers or substances for added detail and texture or flourish. Small to really tiny fragments of text cut from books, newspapers, magazines and such as part of the story's possibility. My own memorabilia--letters, book pages, artwork, photographs. Found handwriting script and other typography, graphic images from vintage books or catalogs, paint, ink, lead, sheet mica, and whatever is in front of me really ... Circumstantial whatever it might be ... minutiae.


Q: How long have you been creating collages and what made you start?
A: Since I was a kid I have been fascinated with ephemera and paraphernalia and I have always made some sort of collage: it probably started when in class as a kid--we had that well-known assignment of making a wish-box, or found poems from images and text cut out of magazines--I fell in love with this sort of intuitive, random and inspiration-driven medium for expressing one's questions, affirmations or dreams. I started because both, I have an insatiable need to seek out and to share/translate beauty and what I see, feel or love ... I have been focusing on vintage and found materials for about 3 years or so.

Q: Are you solely an artist, or do you work in another profession?
A: Background in interior design and styling/visual merchandising. Currently working on my art and ideas for other ventures.

Q: Do you have any formal art training?
A: No.


Q: Explain your favourite techniques.
A: Play, intuition, curiosity. Allowing then going with the accidents. I never know what to do or how to do it, I just have a daily urge. I can say one thing--I really like to get my hands dirty, I couldn't imagine it any other way. Paint and glue-covered hands is typical--nothing perfectionistic about what I do. I am a lover of the "wabi sabi" aesthetic/philosophy.

Q: Describe your favourite piece ever created.
A: I like so many for different reasons, more based on my feelings about them than for their potential aesthetic quality. Right now I am most attached or moved by a recent one: I used one of my best friends grandparents' photo in it (I had been enamored for years of this sweet photo). I haven't titled it yet but it makes me think/feel of longing and happiness, imperfection and love, surging and tenderness, melancholy and preciousness (lots of things), and all the things that make life and this being human sacred and exhilarating. I like the ones that I completely can't figure out how I did it or where it came from, like, there was a message that was revealed to me more than a feeling as if I told it ... I don't like to feel too much in control then I get stuck, I like to let go. Of course most of them sort of seem that way--which is why I can't stop. Seems meditational, serendipitous, even magical then--almost essential if just for me-- that's enough.

Q: What other artists do you admire?
A: Joseph Cornell, Marcel Duchanmp, Jenny Holzer, Cy Twombly, Martin Creed, Bruce Nauman, Maurizio Nanucci, Emmanuel Polanco, Eduardo Recife (I personally see them all as poets as well as artists).

Thanks Kariann!

The Collage Box - Notpaper

The Collage Box

Okay okay, site of the week is coming to you on Tuesday because it was a bit of a holiday in Ontario yesterday (family day). But I didn't want to wait until next week to recognize The Collage Box, a great collective of artists--many featured here, on Notpaper. The participating artists make collages for the "box," and they find a gallery in their area to display the collection. I don't know how successful they've been, I'd like to hear more about it. I love the idea and that some of my favourite collage artists are involved!

1. Gamze Özer 2. Liz Cohn 3. Oscar G 4. Alex Hamrick 5. Fred Free

6. Nick Tassone 7. Px(c) 8. Peter Kupas 9. Fiona Dinkelbach 10. Liz Cohn

They also had this to say about Notpaper, which made me smile!

"Every single person interested in collage art should visit not paper. Run by Canadian artist Aprile Elcich, this website is an endless source of interviews with great collage artists and carefully chosen art. Learn what collage box artists Fred Free, Fiona Dinkelbach, Alex Hamrick, Liz Cohn and Nicholas Tassone have to say about their work." - the collage box

Valentine - Notpaper

Valentine

Happy Valentine's Day, if you celebrate it!
Here are some lovely collages to get you in the mood.








1. Kariann Burleson 2. Francisca Pageo 3. Fiona Dinkelbach 4. Vesna Pesic 5. Caitlin Burt 6. loza_midnightrose 7. Michele Maule 8. misterymoor 9. Shelley Kommers 10. tods2tods 11. Carmen Burguess 12. Clarissa 13. Shelley Kommers14. meriluni 15. Aprile Elcich

Micah Brenner - Notpaper

Micah Brenner

Micah's collages seem so perfect and well-planned. The kind you could look back at and decide you wouldn't change anything. I love that he mentioned taking graphic design before computers really took over. I think I would have loved it even more had I been studying it 20 years ago. I wonder if more people crave the "hands-on" part of design now, I wonder if more people are turning to collage. Just a thought!

Micah Brenner
www.mossyoar.com, flickr.com/photos/mossy_oar/
San Francisco, CA

Q: Describe your work in 10 words or less.
A: Geological, archaeological, illogical excavation and recombination of studio paper deposits.

Q: What do you like to work with (magazines, photographs, vintage)? Be specific!
A: Painted and drawn upon papers, lined papers, photocopies, pages out of found books, magazines, packaging, postcards, envelopes, tape, fabric... I'm tempted by listings for garage sales that say things like "misc. paper", but I'm trying to use what I already have accumulated for the most part or stuff that finds its way into the house--mail, museum guides, schedules etc... I find that I'm not as interested in collecting images as I used to be, now it's more about patterns and colors. I'm drawn to "vintage" stuff just as much as I am to junk mail as I like combining elements from disparate origins.

Q: How long have you been creating collages and what made you start?
A: First collage was when I was about 12 years old... I cut out about 50 different images of basketball players from late 70s/early 80s Sports Illustrated magazines. I can still remember the satisfaction of cutting out Michael Jordan and layering him on top of another photo. That is vivid to me. Of course that didn't continue for too long (being a basketball fan did though), but I have been making collages on and off for the last 10 years or so.

Q: Are you solely an artist, or do you work in another profession?
A: I work as a web developer.


Q: Do you have any formal art training?
A: I studied design at the University of California, Davis in the early 90s. Photoshop... What's that? I have taken some art classes in San Francisco since then.

Q: Explain your favourite techniques.
A: Reconfiguring and combining elements from spontaneous cut and glue sessions. I like starting a piece with no preconceived notions, just digging in and pasting down a few elements that catch my eye. Occasionally these compositions will build into a finished piece, but more often they serve as source materials for merging with other similarly begun compositions. I like the challenge of growing pieces in this disjointed fashion where the future of one narrative is bisected/blindsided by the history of another. My collages tend to expose rather than obscure their process, and playing with the temporal possibilities of collage is part of my attraction to creating this way. Along those same lines, I'm interested in how handmade marks and painted areas can be combined with pasted paper.

Q: Describe your favourite piece ever created.
A: No favourites really... In each one there are aspects I really like as well as things to learn from.

Q: What other artists do you admire?
A: Arshile Gorky, Julius Bissier, Cy Twombly, Terry Winters, George Herms, Louis Pons, Joe Brainard... More recent ones include Simone Shubuck, Leslie Shows, Julie Heffernan, Henrik Dresher, Michael McMillen, Brad Brown, Julie Mehretu, Sarah Sze... Finding just as much inspiration though in works that I have only experienced through the computer screen (flickr and this great blog).

Thanks Micah!

Landkee - Notpaper

Landkee

Landkee's collages are simple--but they do have a few distinguishing qualities. He knows not to overdo it, which can be an asset and it helps to define his style. There are some other collage artists that make collages like this, (small shapes on a big white blank canvas) but what's different here is the use of international materials. These definitely make it more interesting!

Landkee
www.landkee.com
California (currently)

Q: Describe your work in 10 words or less.
A: Random x 10.

Q: What do you like to work with (magazines, photographs, vintage)? Be specific!
A: Anything that can be stuck to a piece of paper. Newspapers, magazines, postcards, photographs, all sort of junk mail, stickers, et cetera. I enjoy using material from different countries.

Q: How long have you been creating collages and what made you start?
A: Since 2003 with a long break in between. I can't explain what made me start and restart; it just felt right.

Q: Are you solely an artist, or do you work in another profession?
A: Employed full time elsewhere. Hopefully someday I'll be doing just art.


Q: Do you have any formal art training?
A: No, I purposely avoid any sort of training and art technique books.

Q: Explain your favourite techniques.
A: People noticed that I often leave background blank. It makes some viewers uneasy, but I am not doing it on purpose.

Q: Describe your favourite piece ever created.
A: Most recently I enjoyed no. 255 (with a boy being crushed). I also had fun creating collages with stickers & rubber stamps (no. 44, for example).

Q: What other artists do you admire?
A: Pretty much everyone. Miró, Kandinsky, Malevich, Mayakovsky , Schiele, Klimt, Mucha, da Vinci, Magritte, Thiebaud and many more.

Thanks Landkee!

Could Be Me - Notpaper

Could Be Me

This is a new feature I hope to publish every Sunday! I want to give recognition to the sites that I think are valuable resources to all of us, are related to Notpaper in some way, or are just particularly interesting. Or all of the above, like the Could Be Me project that is the very first Site of the Week!




1. Gordon Magnin, 2. James Gulliver Hancock, 3. Jonas Fechner, 4. Lillianna Pereira, 5. Mark Lazenby, 6. Martin Vorwerk, 7. Max Montano, 8. Max-o-matic, 9. MB77,
10. Mudchicken, 11. Patrick Beser, 12. Rachel T Robertson, 13. Randy Mora,
14. Rebecca Trawick, 15. Sebastian Waters, 16. Thereza Rowe, 17. Una Janicijevic,
18. Vivienne Strauss

I'm still not completely sure what the motives for this project were, but I think it's an excellent collection that shows the creativity of the artists involved. The constraints are simply that whatever they create must say "It could be me, but it's actually Paul Paper." I was contacted to participate in the project, and so were many other artists who have been featured on Notpaper! I'm very happy to be familiar with all of them, and see new work from all of them there!





19. Able Parris, 20. Andrée Tracey, 21. Anthony Zinonos, 22. Chen Ying Tzu,
23. Claudio Parentela, 24. Esen Demirci, 25. Exo, 26. Francisca Pageo,
27. Ginette Couture

There are also a lot of collages in the project by artists that I haven't had the pleasure of interviewing. (That will come next!)


by Anna Wolf


by Elisabeth Taudiere


by Sally Illustration

Jo Cheung - Notpaper

Jo Cheung

I like Jo's work because it's pretty, which is not surprising considering she has a flickr set devoted to "all things related to birds." A girl after my own heart! Her collages are feminine and glittery, and she uses birds and brown paper that give it a natural feeling. I've been featuring a lot of collagists who like to draw lately, haven't I? I feel like the above collage is very "February," which is why I chose it!

Jo Cheung
www.jocheung.com, www.flickr.com/photos/saint_barbie/
London, England

Q: Describe your work in 10 words or less.
A: I love making the ordinary childlike, fun and playful!

Q: What do you like to work with (magazines, photographs, vintage)? Be specific!
A: A lot of my work is primarily handmade and sometimes overlapping with digital elements but I'm always happy to try out new things. I mainly work with observational drawings and then layers of photocopied drawings as the starting point, I've spent so much money over the years at college and university! I do take my own photos when I'm out and about for reference material but being messy with glue and tissue paper is what I enjoy the most! My work is primarily drawn from many things within visual culture such as fashion design and youth subculture so I like referring to a variety of magazines.

Q: How long have you been creating collages and what made you start?
A: As far as I can remember I've always been cutting up magazines when I was a child and it would drive my parents crazy for making so much clutter! I used to draw on everything I got my hands on as well, then when I started college I found my own way of visually communicating ideas and gradually developing my style and identity. By using stickers, sequins and found scraps of paper (or asking people to save envelopes and wrapping paper for me) it's about the materials that evoke the idea of childhood, using what you've already got. Collage allows me to make the image as I'm going and there are no restrictions or being precise whereas using the computer I get a bit frustrated if I can't do something specific or if I lose the saved work! That put me off animation as that's what I wanted to do in the first place before I went to college. Now I'm more into making hand made products for sale like postcards and screen printed badges.

Q: Are you solely an artist, or do you work in another profession?
A: I'm an artist/ Illustrator and designer.

Q: Do you have any formal art training?
A: I've got a distinction for Art and Design Foundation and I'm now in my final year of my BA (HONS) Illustration degree at the University of Westminster in Harrow. Considering to do an MA next year but not too sure what though.


Q: Explain your favourite techniques.
A: I like cutting up random shapes and geometric patterns to make up the backgrounds and mixing up photocopied drawings and found images then scribbling over with felt tip pens. Screen printing is awesome, I'm alright at it still learning but the outcomes are always different and unique. Having some amount of control and the process itself is so satisfying.

Q: Describe your favourite piece ever created.
A: For my print module I made some, erm, quite rude screen printed paper dolls with clothes and accessories. Each one had lots of loose glitter and sequins and I made the packaging as well.

Q: What other artists do you admire?
A: Ah too many! On top of my head it would have to be Julie Verhoeven, Julia Pott, Chrissie Abbott , Silja Gotez, Mike Perry and many more extraordinary and talented people!

Thanks Jo!

Michele Maule - Notpaper

Michele Maule

Michele's work is so clean and refreshing, which is a result of using fresh pastel colours and hints of pattern. I love how she combines her little paintings with collages in the background, and I'm amazed at her talent! Her work just has this certain charm you recognize right away.

Michele Maule
http://www.how2drawacupofcoffee.blogspot.com, http://www.michelemaule.com
Pontiac, Michigan (However, I will be moving to Portland, Oregon in May! I've lived many many places, but Portland is my favourite. Always.)

Q: Describe your work in 10 words or less.
A: Me.

Q: What do you like to work with (magazines, photographs, vintage)? Be specific!
A:I love working with old books, and library cards. When they were getting rid of the card catalog system at my college, they would put stacks of the cards out for students so they could use them as scratch paper. I would go in about once a week and swipe as many cards as I could so I could use them in my collages :) Those are my favourite!

Q: How long have you been creating collages and what made you start?
A: Collage has been a part of my work for some time now. I started making art about 8 years ago, and I started by painting, and trying to incorporate collage into it as much as I could. I'm not really sure what made me start. I think I just really loved the idea of incorporating text into my art.

Q: Are you solely an artist, or do you work in another profession?
A: I am an artist. I am also an awesome girl friend, and doggie mom :)

Q: Do you have any formal art training?
A: I graduated from Portland State University with a degree in Drawing, Painting, and Printmaking with an emphasis on Printmaking.


Q: Explain your favourite techniques.
A: I love coating my paintings and collages with beeswax. It creates a lovely depth to the papers and also makes them rich and transparent. I LOVE it. I think I mostly love the unpredictability of it. I know how some papers react to the wax, but not all paper. So sometimes it's a lovely surprise.

Q: Describe your favourite piece ever created.
A: It has to be my painting titled "Alternative Modes of Transportation", a painting where a woman is riding on the back of a turtle. I found the image in the back of a National Geographic and there really wasn't an explanation as to why she was riding on the back of a turtle. Other than it use to be some sort of past time at Coney Island in the 1940s. I also just love the texture that I was able to create, and overall I really love it.

Q: What other artists do you admire?
A: There are so many. I honestly don't know where to begin. Kiki Smith, Sophie Calle, Frida Khalo, and Robert Rauschenberg, are the ones that I feel have really influenced my work.

Thanks Michele!

Karena Colquhoun - Notpaper

Karena Colquhoun

Karena admits to a slight obsession to Kraft paper, which I also share (I think I read that somewhere on her blog). What I think is truly unique and inspiring about her work is that she using her printmaking skills as well. It just seems like the best of both worlds as far as I'm concerned, and I'd like to find more people who use this technique.

Karena Colquhoun (but it seems more people know me by my business name, Magic Jelly, which is fine by me.)
www.magicjelly.com.au (currently redirects to my blog), www.magicjelly.etsy.com
Adelaide, South Australia

Q: Describe your work in 10 words or less.
A: Lavishing love and attention on the dusty, forgotten and neglected. (Woo. Exactly 10!)

Q: What do you like to work with (magazines, photographs, vintage)? Be specific!
A: I have a dilemma when it comes to cutting up old stuff. I figure it's survived this long, who am I to attack it with scissors. So I like to use material that is totally worthless to anyone but me, or that truly has reached disintegration point, and actually, I prefer paper that is brittle, torn, yellow, faded or mouldy--not only is my conscience clear, but the beautiful, varying patination gives my work a pleasing depth and texture! I'm mainly interested in ephemera that is not intrinsically valuable, and although I use paper that is pictorial, I usually like to crop it and deconstruct it, forming new patterns and textures. I find when I cut paper into little shapes, each piece takes on a sense of mystery and a new preciousness. It's often surprising that the most successful pieces were actually pretty uninteresting when in tact, but as soon as they're taken out of context, they become something much more intriguing. I can get quite miserly with my paper shapes and hold onto all my favourite bits, not wanting to use them (but I always do end up parting with them, as heartbreaking as that can be!). I have one rule--I never cut up old photos--but I do like to use bits of old maps, book pages, flyers, programmes, ads, receipts, envelopes, end papers, etc. I mix vintage ephemera with new paper and my own screen prints, stamps, drawings and paintings. I like mixing the old and new. I worked digitally, almost exclusively, for about 6 years, and now that I'm back to messing around with scissors and glue, I still like to mix in some digital process here and there.

Q: How long have you been creating collages and what made you start?
A: Aside from the glitter-encrusted creations from my childhood, I'd say my real interest in collage began when I started to work digitally. The funny thing is, I don't make digital collages at all anymore, I prefer to only work with original material in my digital pieces rather than found images. I really got bitten by the collage bug a year ago (almost to the day) when I decided as a New Year's resolution to make a collage every day to help jump start my creativity. I started a Collage-a-Day Flickr group which is still going strong, although I have to admit, I haven't participated in a while. Anyway, I really took to collage--it fits perfectly with my love of paper and ink and old stuff--I don't know why I didn't do it sooner!

Q: Are you solely an artist, or do you work in another profession?
A: I'm self-employed as an artist/illustrator/designer. The best way I've found to survive as a self-representing artist is to diversify, so I split my workload between my artwork; merchandise that I design such as greeting cards and pocket mirrors; and illustration, design and portraiture commissions.

Q: Do you have any formal art training?
A: Although I went to art school, I'd say I'm still 99.9% self-taught--I didn't find formal education particularly useful--I'm the type of person who benefits more from learning independently. I guess that rules out brain surgery as an occupation--lucky I'm an artist!


Q: Explain your favourite techniques.
A: I like to cut paper into shapes and make patterns from them--usually geometric, but sometimes more randomly. I'm a perfectionist by nature, so I think the order-from-chaos aspect of it appeals to me. I design the more complex patterns digitally, but always cut by hand. I have to admit, diecutting sounds very appealing when you're onto your hundredth shape and have the blisters to prove it, but I like the imperfection of the handcut paper, and there's something quite soothing about the monotony of cutting them. There's usually some kind of illustrated element in my collages, whether it be my screen prints (I use a gocco), polymer stamps (that I make myself) or ink drawings and paintings. I love to layer different media, I think the depth & complexity it creates ties in nicely to the themes I like to explore relating to time and memory. It's like peeling back layers of old wallpaper, but in reverse.

Q: Describe your favourite piece ever created.
A: Well I don't know if it's my favourite of all time, but my favourite piece at the moment (well it's two pieces) is Iris No. 1 and 2. I like them because they embody the new direction my work is taking. There's a nice diversity to these pieces, but hopefully a sense of cohesion too. It's a blend of vintage ephemera and found papers assembled in these geometric patterns, gocco prints on old book pages, a bit of painting, and the edges of the canvas are decorated with a traditional egg and dart pattern that I designed in Illustrator, digitally printed onto recycled paper and then stained with tea (organic Ceylon, in case you're interested). So there's a nice spectrum of techniques and media in these pieces from pencil and paper through to the finished article. I hope to evolve this style further this year. I have some new pieces still at the sketchy stage that are in the pipeline. One is a series influenced by vintage cigar boxes and Charles Bukowski's poetry, and also some little portraits involving gocco prints and collage with some stencilled elements. Maybe they'll become my new favourites!

Q: What other artists do you admire?
A: SO many. In particular, Gary Taxali does amazing things with collage and gocco.

Thanks Karena!

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