July 31, 2009

Collage Comrade Column: Vivienne Strauss

Dear Vivienne,

Thank you so much for taking this opportunity to be featured on my blog. I am a pretty new collage artist therefore I always love to bump into another one especially with such an inspiring techniques, materials and concept. So, let’s start with the interview now shall we?

1. Please tell me a bit about yourself and how you are first finding collage as one f your creative expressions? I've always loved images and have always had a collection of them. I started out doing more of what is called decoupage where you apply the images to objects. I used to cover old hat boxes, then it moved to the doors and tables of my apartment. When I moved from there, it made me sad to leave all those images behind that I had collected so I chose to move to collage which I've been doing various forms of for about 10 years. I love the challenge of using old images in new and imaginative ways.

2. Tell me about your creative process in making a collage? Is there a specific ritual or just wait for the inspiration to come or any other way? I am a pretty restless person so sometimes when I want to relax with a movie but can't sit still, I will often cut out a bunch of images all at once. Sometimes the collages just naturally come together in this stage but often, the images just float around in my head until I decide how to use them. One of my favorite pieces I've done, I came up with the idea one night when I woke up at 3 a.m. and could not fall back asleep. I decided to just lie there and think about all the images I had cut out that I could remember and it just fell into place and I finished it the next day. I've learned my lesson though, you can't really force inspiration. On those days, focus on the process of cutting out.

3. What kind of materials that you have been using or even try out after all these time? How many of them is actually works and are there any failures? I like to work with almost all vintage images from old magazines and books and apply mod podge matte medium with a small paintbrush. Some people use glue sticks but that has never worked for me. I've tried combining painting with collage but so far that hasn't worked out the way I would like it to. I haven't given up the idea completely though.

4. Apart from making collages, are there any other craftworks that you make? I paint almost every day. Other things I've tried, I'm terrible at sewing! I like doing some embroidery but actual sewing is awful for me.

5. Now, Let's talk about selling the craftworks. Does it take a long time for you to decide that you can sell your collages or even actually live out of it? My collages don't sell nearly at the rate of my paintings. I don't know if people don't respect collage as much as painting, some people think it is "cheating" because you are using images created by others. There are collage artists out there that make things that people can "use" like cards, jewelry and things like that and they are very successful at selling them.

6. I notice that several collage artists are also into making and selling kits and organize workshops. I love doing workshops and hoping to have more next year. How about you? I don't think I would ever do that, I like working alone and can't imagine "teaching" someone to collage, it is such a personal thing. As far as collage kits go, if I had that kind of time, I would prefer to get my own supplies more organized, they are a mess!

7. Have you done any exhibitions? Would you like to tell us what was it like? I have an exhibit coming up in February of 2009 in Manchester, United Kingdom. I'll be showing with several other collage artists, all my work for that exhibit is of my lingerie collages. Unfortunately it is very far away and I won't be able to attend but will get to see photos once it is up.

8. I've notice also that there are so many medium where we can put our collages in apart just make them into wall-hanging or ACEO. How about you? What kind of medium that you've used or plan to use for your collages. I do all my work on paper that can be framed.

9. What do you like most about making collages? Is there anything that you don't like about it? I love sorting through and looking at all the old magazines and giving them new life. I guess the only thing I don't like about it is, I haven't been able to organize it as much as I'd like to, it can be a very messy medium to work in!

10. Any last words? And please share us your email, shop, gallery or anything that you would like to share with us.Even though collage hasn't been a great money maker, I'll probably always continue to do it. My etsy shop for collage is www.viviennestrauss.etsy.com and my blog is www.vivienneart.blogspot.com

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