collage artist︎ Aarhus, Denmark
january 30, 2021
As always first things first, could you please introduce yourself a little? Where did you grow up, what do you do, and what were some of your first important art experiences?
I grew up in a suburb near Aarhus in Denmark. It is near the sea and the forest. Just as much as I love the City, just as much I am addicted to being close to nature. After moving around, studying, working and having my first child, I now live here again, with my husband and our two teenagers.
I graduated as a textile designer from Designskolen Kolding in Denmark in 99 and have worked freelance as a print designer for fashion and interior design. 10 years ago I began working as an art educator at an art school for kids and young people, a work that I love!
My first important art experience was probably when I was about 14 and got my first camera, and learned how to develop my own pictures in the darkroom, but I guess also my discovering of the spanish artist Antoni Tapies and his beautiful raw abstract work.
Do you do anything other than collage, creativity-wise?
Besides working as an art educator, I work freelance as a designer/illustrator, having worked in many different creative areas.
When and how did your passion for collage start ?
I have spent some time finding a direction that felt right, but at 19, I had a very serious accident, and during recovery, I immersed myself even more into art and design, and here I also discovered many collage artists.
I was good at illustrating textures and surfaces, and my art teacher at that time encouraged me to apply for the School of Arts and Crafts. I often used collage for sketching, and inspiration on my moodboard in the design process. Some professors encouraged me to work more seriously with my collages/mixed media, but at that time, I was more interested in becoming a designer, working with textile design. I have used my collages in different media. They have also been used as background illustrations on a series of children's books in collaboration with my husband, who works as an illustrator. Some of them have been exhibited at the Biennale of Illustrations in Bologna and Bratislava.
3 years ago I had a very stressful period, and making collages again made me totally relax, and it felt very natural to do, it was like coming home :-) and I began, maybe for the first time, to take my collage making more seriously.
How would you describe your style in your own words?
I like a raw surface with a graphic expression, but still also a bit sensitive and poetic. I like to tell stories. I´m still developing, I have promised myself to add more color in my work in the future :-)
What about collage as a medium speaks to you ?
Collage is an artform where I can express myself better than in any other media. The graphic expression, and the mix of different elements, layers and objects, coming together, just speaks to me. I love the whole process of making a collage. As a designer I have worked a lot with digital designs, and I have also worked with digital collages, but it is the analog process and expression, where I really get my hands in the materials that I prefer to work with.
Your work feels very retro. Where and how do you find and choose the materials you work with ?
I have so many great photo albums from my family back to the 1920s. I love to look in them, so much history and aesthetics in the b/w photos and I sometimes use them in my collages. I also use vintage magazines and old books that I find in antique and secondhand stores, that is probably why my work has got a retro vibe.
Do you ever feel guilty about tearing up books ? I always ask because I do ...
I know what you mean :-) I really love books and love to read. I grew up with books everywhere in our house. But the books I use, I often find stacked away in boxes in secondhand shops, not in a good shape. I love the old paper in them and the good bookbinding, and I just convince myself that I rescue them, and give them a new life in a new story, maybe a kind of upcycling ;-)
How, assuming it does, is creativity helping you through the pandemic.?
Being creative is what I do, but definitely in the beginning of the pandemic it has sometimes been a kind of an escape room.
Any words of advice to people just starting out with collage ?
Experiment! The best way to find your own way of expression. There will always be one way or style that suits you best and feels more natural and right for you.
Anne Misfeldt ︎
Interview: Petra Zehner