Where are you from?
Odenton, Maryland, a little town outside of Annapolis.
How were you first introduced to collage?
I discovered collage through my artist community in Los Angeles. I took various workshops for drawing and painting, then had the opportunity to study with a wonderful collage artist, Gene Inglis Ward. She’s a fabulous teacher and I owe a lot to her for getting me hooked on paper and glue. Then my dear friend and teacher, Franklyn Liegel, opened my eyes to an amazing world of mixed media. He was a wonderful, powerful teacher, and I was heartsick when we suddenly lost him earlier this year.
How long have you been working in the medium of collage?
For about 4 years.
Please describe your work.
My collages are abstract yet familiar – even comforting – constructed as they are of common materials like old books that resonate and evoke shared memories, stirring a sort of déjà vu in our collective conscience.
What materials do you like to work with?
For several years, I’ve been deconstructing discarded books, and I’ve created a substantial body of work using nothing but material torn from them. My husband and I were recently in Europe, and we literally ripped old posters off walls in France and Italy. So in the spirit of one of my favorite artists, Mimmo Rotella, I’m currently creating collages from the treasure trove of materials we collected.
Please describe your process.
I think about my work all the time, so my process is a continuum. I am in studio every day. Once there, I go through various papers and start laying them out. A color, texture, or shape might guide me towards an idea. I like to leave myself open to possibilities, because quite often I’m going one way and suddenly the work will move in an entirely different direction. I work diligently and quickly. When I am in the zone, I can keep going all day. Sometimes I’ll suddenly feel out of sorts and realize I’ve forgotten to eat.
Do you have any formal art training?
I didn’t have a formal art education. I went to Towson University to study theatre, then took a road less traveled when I got a contract to tour with Ringling Bros Circus as a clown. I worked in 48 states and lived in a train car for two years. I didn’t become an artist until I was in my 40’s.
What other artists do you admire and why?
I love with the work of many, many artists: Mimmo Rotella for his exciting decollages using ad posters, William Dole for his poetic compositions of typographical elements and various media. Abstract expressionists Helen Frankenthaler with her fresh washes of color that create a surface made of air, and Joan Mitchell’s gestural paintings form the most beautiful movements of color. I can look at Diebenkorn’s Ocean Park Series all day. And ROTHKO.
Do you collect anything?
I have shelves of discarded books for my work but I’m not a collector per se (I don’t like dusting). I do have several fine pieces by artists I know, because they mean a lot to me personally.
Do you listen to music when you work?
I often listen to music on my IPod when I work, and I have eclectic tastes. I especially love R&B and Alternative Rock, so I might listen to Marvin Gaye, Laura Nyro and the Isley Brothers, then switch to Radiohead, Beach House and Arcade Fire.
Do you have a favorite artist quote?
“I think about my work ever minute of the day.” Jeff Koons