"Hi, I'm Liz Cohn, known on DA as *LizCohn. I am a full time artist living in Portland, Oregon. I make collage, assemblage and the occasional oil or acrylic painting in my studio at home. Also, I'm a member and co-owner of '12x16 Gallery' [link] in Portland. I show my work an average of 3-5 times a year locally, nationally and sometimes internationally. On deviantArt, I started a mail art project of collage on playing cards (APC's), on which I am collaborating with dozens of Deviant Artists. Some of the APC collaborations can be seen in the deviant groups I belong to or in my gallery folder called 'APC mail art collaborations' [link] also collaborate by mail on Altered Books with the 'Daughters-Of-A-Dog' group [link], but I am a total newbie at Altered Books."
How long have you been interested in collage?
Eight years ago, a friend needed to live in my art studio, so I turned to collage because it was 'less messy' than painting and could be accomplished on my dining room table. I even dabbled in digital collage, but I like the sticky, smooth, wonderful feel of real materials in my hands.
What was it about them that first attracted you to collage and assemblage?
Their beauty of course. In terms of working with them, collage is quick and liberating and can be so easily started with materials right at hand - old books, cardboard scraps, glue - and it can also combine with painting. Many of my collages have some parts enhanced with acrylic paint. Assemblage provides a more structured framework of sorts as I usually make my assemblage inside or on top of cigar boxes. It also challenges me on how to glue or adhere 3-D objects. With both collage and assemblage the reuse of old or discarded materials or 'found objects' is a huge plus.
Do you plan your work before you start or do you see where it takes you?
A bit of both, but I mostly have to give in to where the piece ultimately takes me.
Where do you source your materials?
Garage and estate sales, and thrift and antique stores are never to be passed by. People have also given me things and I have even purchased a few eBay goodies.
How does using different materials affect the way you work?
Good collage finds relationships amongst the disparate items and adheres to the basic design principles that are true for all art: composition, line, shape, color and texture. For me it is balancing control and letting go. I think about the Buddhist idea of non-attachment often in relation to my work, especially in collaborations with other artists. It's that difference between 'I created that' and 'the piece emerging'. But sometimes it is really hard for me to move my danged ego out of the way, because I have to be proud of what I make or else it was a waste of my time.
Who or what influences your work?
Robert Rauschenberg and Joseph Cornell top my list. Also my gallery mates at 12x16 Gallery, in particular my friend Eunice Parsons [link] who at 94 has been making collage for over 55 years. She still works in her art studio every day and has 2-4 well attended shows per year. I recently bought one of her collages, in fact.
I am also influenced by deviant artists with whom I collaborate, but if I list some of them, I am sure to leave out someone important, so please look at the collaboration folder in my gallery.
Could you show me up to 6 thumbs (each from a different artist) from the collage or assemblage galleries that you really love?
Six only? Oh that is tough, there is such an abundance of talent on DA.
Do you have any advice for artists thinking of trying collage or assemblage for the first time?
Jump in with both feet and have fun. Work with what you have on hand, concentrate on finding relationships in line, color, texture and shape. Learn how to work with glue and your materials and play with getting different effects that you like. Mix collage with other mediums. Try digital collage. Try working with a more spare minimal look vs. a brimming full look. Invite a friend over for a play date and collaborate on some pieces handing them back and forth. Browse DeviantArt, ask the artists questions. Explore the works of famous collage artists and take inspiration from their brilliant work. Avoid glossy magazines and photos of celebrities. Later, if you decide you want to stick with it, learn about archival materials and which images it is okay to use or not use in respect of copyright laws.
Thankyou so much *LizCohn!