AN INTERVIEW WITH CLAUDIA a.k.a THE SCISSORHANDS
"As our readers know, Beyond Photography adores collage. Could you tell us a little bit more about your specific processes?"
Being an artist means you are never off duty, because inspiration is everywhere- a gesture, a certain colour, what somebody is wearing, food packaging in foreign supermarkets, music that instantly touches, a stroll through a museum, nature, a single sentence in a novel or just watching other people- I always try to approach the world open-mindedly. When producing my work, in the very beginning there is usually an image that captivates me. This can be a photo or a painting. The moment I see it, a narrative starts to develop in my mind. When I decide to create a series out of this initial idea, I begin to conduct my research; meaning looking at thrift stores or eBay for matching picture books or magazines. When I've collected everything, the real work begins. Because my collages are very minimalist -they often consist merely out of two picture elements- every detail has to be right. There has to be an interaction between those two elements. A certain tension. The same time they have to look effortless. I am not a neat cutter; my cut outs are raw. You will always find ripped edges. Too much perfection is boring to me. It is those raw elements that make my work alive. Sometimes I spend hours on a single image until I am happy with the result. When a cutting session is finished, I leave the work for a while in my drawer, before I look at them again. When I am not convinced about my collage, I remove what I pasted on it or destroy it completely (this explains why you sometimes find ripped parts or visible traces of glue in my works). I love working in series, for it helps me delving deeper and deeper into a theme.
"What do you try to convey with your work?"
"I am at war with the obvious." This sentence by photographer William Eggleston describes it best. I do not want to make just plain decorative art; I want to force people to look behind the scenes, to have a second and third look and to create their own stories about what they see. I want to make people use their imagination.
"Your work focuses on the combination of painting and photography. How would you define the limits of photography as a medium?"
With the creation of my collages, I believe that there are no limits in art. Photography is a raw material for my work, as well as fine art and typography. They are all part of photography.
"Your work seems to be predominantly inspired by still life paintings. Do you find that your work is a reinvention of an old technique/subject matter?"
Well, I would say that my work is currently inspired by still lives. When you have a look at my gallery on Instagram you will find that I used to do completely different collage works (although minimalistic as well). At the moment, I find it exciting to combine paintings with photography, mixing centuries, textures, slowness and speed. I would not describe it as a reinvention of old techniques, more an awareness for the beauty of analog paintings. I think everybody is somehow overfed with all that polished digital stuff. But I do not want to be labeled as the artist who is only focusing on still lives. For me, collaging is like a pulsating organism, in a constant change and move. The moment I realize a certain pressure or stagnation whilst working on a series, I have to make a cut. Then, I will start with something new. I am my own hardest critic. When I look at my previous work, there are few collages that still make me proud or satisfy me. The moment you become too complacent with your work, is the beginning of stagnation. I do not want to repeat my work. Even if I continue series after a pause, they will have a different look or statement.
"Do you find that the technological era brings opportunities or poses a threat to Art"
Well, I can only speak for myself. The answer is both. As I am also doing a lot of work on commission (collages for newspapers and magazines), I enjoy the opportunities and facilities of working digital. But one has to be careful. In my opinion, digital collage works always have something static, lifeless. You tend to work too neat, adjust sizes, change colours, because you know you are able to. Everything is planned, nothing is left to chance. You do not have these little coincidences that analogue collages have. The best collage works happen in those golden moments; when two randomly placed cutouts transform into something new. And of course the "haptic" look. In my recent digital works, I combined both worlds. I scanned cutouts and leftovers and mixed them in. And there is something else: working analog means you create unique pieces. It is hard to transfer a handmade collage, the haptic look, it´s shadow play of not neatly glued pieces into a one dimensional print. This is why I mainly sell analog work, rather than digital.