Q. Why do you choose to focus on the female form?
A. I’m interested in exploring the issue of women, body image and the feminine ideal. In the US, there is a near obsession with being thin (and yet, our country grows heavier every day). The media is inundated with diet advertising and images of an idealized ‘thin’ woman. As a result, there is an epidemic of women unhappy with their bodies. In my work over the years, I have taken the iconic female form — women on the fashion runway, women posing for pictures, pin-up girls – and deconstructed the form to comment on this issue. I’ve taken away the sexy skivvies and skin tight dresses and replaced them with layers of vintage produce labels, old Hollywood posters and related materials.
Q. The women in your pieces have a sense of anonymity, are their identities intentionally hidden?
A. I’m not intentionally hiding their identities. I am more creating a ‘universal’ woman. I hope for the viewer to identify in some way with the figure, or to be curious about her. What’s she thinking about? Is she comfortable in her body?
Q. Where do you find the silhouettes?
A. I search for silhouettes everywhere – on billboards, red carpet photos, images of fashion runway shows, magazines, etc. I believe it is on the fashion runways – with rail-thin models, and on the red carpet – with Hollywood’s emaciated actresses, that the fantasy of the perfect body begins, and is perpetuated. I’m interested in taking those iconic moments that are so present in the consumer’s mind – and deconstructing the image.
Q. Why did you choose collage as your medium?
A. I’ve always been drawn to vintage and unusual papers and other objects to make art. For years I’d been an avid antique and flea market forager–searching for anything from vintage papers to old game pieces to other funky ephemera. I’ve always been drawn to the tactile qualities and originality of contemporary fashion and interior design. Collage was the medium where I could make art by combining my interests in all of these visual areas.
Q. What materials do you most like to work with?
A. I love to work with found and vintage papers. I like the way these materials have their own history and unique patina. I am interested in how materials can be manipulated. I think that any piece of art becomes more interesting and authentic when there is a level of complexity and layering of unusual materials.
Q. Where do you get most of your materials?
A. I visit the Brimfield Antiques Fair in Brimfield, MA at least once a year. It has miles of amazing vendors with fabulous finds. I also find really interesting materials online.
Q. How many layers are on each piece?
A. Each piece is built with many layers of paper. I glue down up to 6 layers before I cut into them to reveal the female form. When I pull back the outline of the woman, I am always surprised by what is unearthed under the many layers.
Q. How do you use beeswax in your work?
A. I use an original method of combining and layering materials with wax. I melt granulated beeswax at a high temperature on a hot palette. I then take several layers of papers that have been glued together, and lay them onto the hot palette and paint on the beeswax. The heat and the beeswax seep through the layers revealing imagery and texture.
Q. What is the shiny surface on your work?
A. Every piece is coated with a high gloss resin. It lends itself well to making the many layers of the work come to life more vividly. I also like the juxtaposition of the vintage materials beneath the modern, slick surface.