Guest blog post by Lin of rhodyart
As a collage artist who specializes in vintage themes, I’m often asked, first, why I started doing collage, and second, why vintage?
Collage art came to my life in college, when I took an art history bloc for a term (a combination of courses that included history, art, art history, and social history). My supervisor for the term required all his students to do art. Since I can’t draw (I really can’t draw anything recognizable) and my painting isn’t something I boast about, I chose collage because I thought it was easy.
Nope. It became a challenge to do original, interesting collage that my supervisor thought was worth a grade and I realized that real collage art is difficult to do.
Fast forward 25 years, during which I forgot about making art and focused on writing. During a particularly stressful part of my life, I returned to art — and collage. Because my focus in college and grad school had been social history I was particularly interested in old papers and ephemera (items of collectible memorabilia, typically written or printed ones, that were originally expected to have only short-term usefulness or popularity) because of its pop culture element.
Gradually I developed a style in which I paired vintage elements with a snarky sense of humor and became the Rhodyart I am today.
This is inspired by my intense dislike of eggplant and uses an image of a Victorian woman as its focal point. I’ve also used some netting in the background as well as handmade paper.
One of the things I’m fascinated by is pop culture of all kinds. I’m particularly fond of geeky stuff but also what many would consider trash (like reality TV for example).
Much to my amazement, one of my Kardashian themed items was featured in E! Online’s “Kardashian Fan Gift Guide.” I’m still not sure how that happened.
My work comments quite often on pop culture, but I also do more serious stuff – my wedding and engagement cards aren’t always silly or quirky.
This card, for example, is based on two characters from the PBS series “Downton Abbey,” Anna and Mr. Bates, and it’s how I imagine the two before taking a walk together.
And one thing I’m always on the lookout for is more stuff to use for my work. I have to admit that I have way too much stuff already that I probably am never going to use. The thing about my work, though, is that an interest in one style or type of ephemera can wane with another kind stepping up to the plate. For a while I used a lot of 3D elements – now I seem to be backing away from that.
I always try to source my materials from Etsy sellers, and it’s great when I can find some new shops with materials I haven’t seen before.
One shop that I love (and have already purchased a photo from) is The Old Barn Door, which sells photos and postcards and is run by Patricia in Picton, Ontario, Canada. One of the items I’m really interested in is this one.
This item actually has a personal connection to me. It’s the State Normal School in Providence, Rhode Island, which was actually a college for teachers. In later years, it became the Providence campus of the University of Rhode Island – AND I attended classes there from 1983-1986! Hence my interest.
I also love vintage 3-D pieces, and the Etsy shop Collectique has a great selection of old game pieces that I’m trying to figure out how to work into my collage/assemblage art, including several types of Monopoly game pieces, as well as actual game sets that look really interesting. I was particularly drawn to the vintage Barbie dolls, which I recognize from my childhood, such as this one.
I know this would be sacrilege to Barbie collectors, but I’ve been thinking about using dolls in possible assemblage projects and these pique my interest.
Finally, Firepan Jewelry has a selection of items in its Destash section that look intriguing. I particularly like this collection of vintage paper pieces.
There’s also some vintage coins. My larger collages often feature coins and tokens as part of the piece, and as such I’m usually keeping a look out for such items.
These are only a few of the things that I look for when working on my collages. Doing vintage inspired work means that I can use items from across eras – and not be shy about combining them. My only limitation is how much I have in my wallet.
I love what I do and I hope to continue doing it for a very long time. Because I deal with a severe chronic illness (like many others), art has become therapy. I’m very glad to be able to share the work I love to do with people on Etsy.
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