How did you discover collage?

I’ve always been passionate about magazines. When I was a teenager, I used to cut in my mother’s old magazines and decorate the walls of my room full of inspiring images and photomontages.  At the same time, I discovered the surrealists. I was particularly fascinated by Max Ernst’s collages and Joseph Cornell’s boxes.

What did you like about the collage medium?

What I like about collage is that there are no limits, no “rules of art”. The possibilities are endless and allow you to play with materials and combine techniques. I can glue whatever I want : objects, fabrics, embroidery, paper and cardboard, images, photos, etc.

How do you describe your style?

I’m not sure I have a particular style. I would say my style changes depending on the series I’m working on. Lately, I mostly worked with images or colors that are of «vintage» inspiration. I let myself be inspired by color palettes, shapes, textures. By associating them, I try to create a new meaning.

In one word, what makes you unique?

I would say that it’s the importance that I often give to negative space and off-screen.  

Where do you find your collage material? What are your favorite magazines? 

I’ve been accumulating all kinds of material for a long time. I draw my images from magazines that I glean, but also from books that I collect in book boxes in my neighborhood. I also replenished from the pruned books in the high school library where I teach.

Any advice for a newcomer collagist?

I would advise not to hesitate to be inspired by the images, colors and textures that he/she likes and that as long as there is pleasure, that’s all that matters.

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Marie-Hélène Clavel
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