I loved reading this witty and lovely interview with Camilla, and I know you will too! Her journals are colourful and bubbly, and you can see her experimentation on every page. I was drawn to the different textures of her work, they're playful and unique!
Name (Real or Screename): Camilla Lekebjer
URL (Blog, Website): http://www.flickr.com/photos/64427716@N00/
Location (Where are you from?): Sweden
Q: Describe your work in 10 words or less.
A: Colorful, passionate, bold, unplanned, smeary, mixed-media experiments.
Q: What do you like to work with (magazines, photographs, vintage)? Be specific!
A: I like to try things out and I'll use whatever I have at hand. Sometimes I'll make an effort to include things that I'm not even sure will stick to the page properly. I'll use petals and leaves, hair, different kinds of thread, oven paper, grocery lists, scrap paper, my own photos, hand prints (a favourite!), nail polish... I like it when it looks messy. (Even though I tend to feel that my own messiness is not as acceptable/perfect/cool as other people's messy art. That's something to work on though, the self-judgmental mindset. I like to use my handmade journals as exercises in accepting imperfection.)
I'm not too fond of magazines as collage material, but I keep a stack of non-figurative cut-outs of different colors, textures and patterns. I use them when I feel a need for Something Green-ish or Something Fiery or Something That Looks Like Outer Space. Recently I created clothes for a paper doll illustration out of fabric cut-outs. That was fun!
Q: How long have you been creating collages and what made you start?
A: I can't say when I started creating collages but I know when it became a more regular way of expressing myself. That was when I started journaling in a new way in 2005/2006. I had just found a blog called Wish Jar Journal written by Keri Smith. She made me want to journal in a more playful and visual way. I had been keeping a journal (and/or written letters to friends) since I was nine years old, but this was something new. I started binding my own books for this purpose and have kept going since then with great enthusiasm.
I think maybe collaging was also a way for me to start making images without having the motivation or courage to see if I could draw. (I don't know why I felt that way, but I could see myself cutting and pasting, but not picking up a pen.) Nowadays I draw a lot too, but I don't think I would have had the self-confidence to start if I hadn't already gotten some recognition for my collages.
Another thing I remember from when I first started out with my visual journal, is that I found collaging a great way to change my mindset/mood when there was some undefined, word-less discomfort or frustration. At those times it doesn't help to write or draw, because I don't know what I want to say or express. But collaging then works more as a way of arranging what is already there. It can be really transformative to just make something and it doesn't matter what. Just to focus on the process.
Q: Are you solely an artist, or do you work in another profession?
A: I'm not sure if I even consider myself an artist, and if I do I'm definitely multidisciplinary. I'm a fiction writer, firstly. Then probably a photographer. And then perhaps an illustrator. Recently, however, I'm experimenting with trying not to identify with the things I do (or don't do) (or feel, or don't feel). So maybe I should rephrase the above: I write. I take photos. I take on freelance work as an illustrator. I make collages. (And I laugh loudly. I dance. I worry that the money I make from my part-time day-job won't be enough. I read several books at once. I floss.)
Q: Do you have any formal art training?
A: I took photography for about a year (documentary and old techniques like gravure and cyanotype), but other than that, I've been on my own.
Q: Explain your favourite techniques.
A: The first thing that comes to mind when asked this question is the following quote:
Do something to it.
Do something else to it.
I read it on Keri Smith's blog once and have kept it in mind ever since. I like to not plan anything when I make collages, especially when I work in my journal. But most of the time I start with acrylic paint, and I'll probably choose a bright, bold color. Then I'll just grab what is close, usually scrap paper, grocery lists, receipts. I'll glue it to the page and then glue something else on top of it. Then maybe smear some more acrylic paint on it. Make a hand print. Cut out circles and glue them along the top of the page. And then wait a while for everything to dry. I'll probably plan to add more but then something happens that I need to write about and I start to work on the next journal page.
Q: Describe your favourite piece ever created.
A: I don't have any, I don't think I've made it yet.
Q: What other artists do you admire?
A: Keri Smith, Sabrina Ward Harrison, Ophelia Chong, Camilla Engman, Maya Bloch, Betsy Walton, David Fullarton, Traci Bunkers, I'm sure I'm forgetting someone really important here. I find my Flickr contacts page a constant source of inspiration.