The talented illustrator and world champion collage artist Bene Rohlmann from Berlin (Germany) asked me to take part in a world wide blog hop by answering four questions about my work and inviting three other artists to do the same. They’ll answer the same questions on their blogs next Monday 21st July.
Here’s my selection of talented artists:
Erin McNamara (New Zealand)
Kieran Sperring (England)
What am I working on?
My time is spread between different tasks. I work as a freelance illustrator, tutor at a design school, produce collage and look after my daughters one day a week. As there’s usually a lot going on my weekly routine is fairly fluid and I tend to juggle a number of tasks in any one week. My most recent collage is exploratory work for an upcoming exhibition, I’ve also been working with a series taking images from a selection of Time Life, Life Library of Photography books a friend donated to me. Another recent project for me was curriculum development for a 20th Century Art History resource for the school which I teach at. As a dedicated collagist I was able to sneak in a large amount of collage into the resources, nothing like a healthy appreciation of collage history for the students.
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
A long-time interest for me has been combining relief printing and collage, a technique which I’ve employed in both my personal and illustrative work, the photos below are an example of this technique from an exhibition held last year and show two steps in the process. With this work the collage is used as a textural element and can also add supplementary narratives. Another difference is in some of the materials I use, as I’m based in Wellington, New Zealand geographical isolation can offer up some interesting source materials, one thing I have a particular liking for is vintage knitting patterns. I’ve been collecting these for over 10 years and have a mountainous pile of them to work with.
Why do I create what I do?
Collage has been part of my practise for many years, often combined with other media. A number of years ago I began posting one collage a week to my friends on Facebook, one day a week I take a break from my illustration work regardless of deadlines and give myself an hour or so to produce a collage. This then led into my Tumblr blog and putting work on Society6. My enjoyment of collage is the combining found elements and the surprises this offers. It’s also nice to let the scissors do the drawing.
How does your creating process work?
For me part of the joy of collage is the hunt for materials, at times I have an almost obsessive need to visit secondhand stores. Whenever I’m on holiday it’s like a pilgrimage to search out stores for new bargain price materials. My process is fairly organic and usually begins with going through books and magazines looking for images that pique my interest, I rarely start out with a concept to work to as often the images will suggest themes. The pictures are then put to one side and I look for other elements to combine with them. Generally I’ll construct the foreground elements and then either build or search for the backgrounds. As with many people I also keep a large container of offcuts which can be used in other work, this is regularly used as a go-to box for backgrounds. Colour is a key consideration for me and I also go through phases of using a type of material such as endpapers across a series of work. If I feel the work needs it I’ll sometimes introduce paint or other media as an additional element.
Ray Johnson, Untitled (Old Photograph of Woman) 1965
Josep Renau, The Big Parade 1957
Flora © Peter Campbell 2014
Witold Gordon, Untitled 1940