Collage vs Me

If I had an art enemy, it would be collage. Collage & I don't see eye to eye that often, if at all. Especially abstract collage (or abstract anything. I prefer my art narrative). Enter two inspiring artists, who with their collage work (& in one case with their guidance) enabled a truce between collage & I.

The last time I made a successful collage was when I was in pre-primary school. I made a row of 3 dancers with patty-paper skirts. When you're a kid, it's easy to figure out design & composition. I've always wondered if it had something to do with language and other thinking skills still developing. Being able to sort your environment out when you're a kid with limited words & world knowledge is pretty important for safety! Anyway...

Enter Beth Hoeckel. Her collage work is atmospheric, narrative and lush, opening my eyes up to what can be done. Enter Mati Rose McDonough. Her work is also lush, plus cheerful smothered in gorgeous paint. And through enrolling in the latter's e-course, Daring Adventures in Collage, I learned to stop giving the collage the stink eye through experiment & play. I highly recommend it!

Mati goes through several different ways to collage and ways to think about collage. Working through the course, I learned that I love making surrealist type collages on a painterly background.

Here is my favourite experiment piece from her course (using images from Frankie, Yen & Confetti Fair magazines):

Will collage feature in my future work? Probably not (perhaps when I am a better photographer & can take my own source images). But thinking and designing in terms of collage elements has helped me in designing better compositions, plus I love the way the work looks. It will definitely inspire a series of future works I have in mind...

Hunker down

I've been intentionally making some really terrible art of late, exploring marks, methods, colours, ways of working. The upside is that I have moved to the other side of making really good art (to my style taste), gaining clarity & creating illustrative art that is harmonious with how I like to create. But my gods, an awful lot of rubbish is made in the learning period (which technically never ends. Never such a thing as art mastery: there are always further levels to dive in and explore).

For every collection of art you see at a gallery exhibition, the artist has likely edited out several other pieces from the initial collection that were a bit rubbish. If they're really good and experienced, perhaps the work was excellent, but just subpar compared to the rest. It is the work that you don't see that makes the work you do see even more valuable. Great creative effort requires a bit of sweat.

And sweat is what I'll be doing this month (don't worry, I shower daily. Though perhaps sweaty art sells in modern galleries?). I'll be hunkering down in pure creation mode, making prints and patterns and art that dance. The downside is that you won't be able to see most of this. The upside is that I will finally (FINALLY) be filling the wall art shop again with some summer goodness. I can't wait to be able to tell you all about it (at the end of August)!

Hello again

This is the highly edited version of a story I really want to tell you...but can't. Not right now.

At writing, the general focus with my art is to bring in joy, play and a sense of strength and boldness. I want to create work that disrupts the invisible hands that are pushing you down away from who you are, who you want to be and what you want to do next. Life is very difficult: if I can create something that will help you pull through to take positive action or experience a certain joy, then I will.

As part of healing from an illness that was becoming chronic (and is now fortunately fading away), I have had to actively work on separating who I am from other's assumptions of who I should be and what I should do, as well as their values. I can't and frankly I don't want to control what other people think of who I am or what I should do: but I can control my own actions, my own thoughts and live life my own way. 


I have been told that knowing thyself deeply (and life experience in general) is key to making good, even great art. If the work has no heart, then what good is the most beautiful technically correct rendering in the world?

I do regret removing my previous blog entries - this might be the 3rd or 4th try at this journal? It will be the last though. Let this be the official, first, permanent hello. Thanks for walking this path with me. Who the hell knows where it will lead next?