I was looking through one of the mosaic forums the other week and came across one of Rebecca Collins‘ octopus pieces. Thinking I had seen it somewhere before (yup, flickr!!) it still struck me and I couldn’t stop looking at her work. There’s something so free about her mosaics and I can’t quite put my finger on it. Anyway, of course typical immediate reaction was that I needed to know a little bit more about her, the artist 😉 So here goes…
Already coming from a creative background (she’s a full time digital pet portrait artist – and I have to say I love what she does there too!! Check out her website), Rebecca discovered mosaics in 2007 when she took a class with a girlfriend on a whim. She’s been hooked ever since. Although she has mentioned before that her works are not intricate or exacting, I would beg to differ. She has her own unique style and it is free, but still very exact. There’s messy and then there’s messy! Of which her work is neither, in my humble opinion. “When I took my first mosaic class I was not sure if I would have the patience or the ability to sit still and work on a piece slowly. It turns out that my impatient nature does show through in my work as I tend to work fast creating loosely cut works with tons of tiny tessera. I do not get horribly bogged down in a desire to create elaborate intricate or exacting patterns. I love it when I see that type of work, but I could never go there.”
I love how she layers her work, how there’s such a bohemian feel to it (and I mean that as a compliment!, not wanting to categorise inappropriately here). She does what my anal self would love to be able to do but finds very difficult to just let go. This statement pretty much sums up what I love about her work: “My interest is in combining layers of collage images and text underneath glass. I use my computer skills to create digital paintings that get collaged with text and other elements for a rich look. I also will create watercolors from scratch and then scan those into the computer and work on them in Photoshop and then print them out to incorporate into my mosaic designs. I enjoy the back and forth of using traditional tools and media along with the computer and all that it offers.”
Her mosaics are, for her, an escape. Dare I say, a hobby. It is her part time passion and she is reluctant to really market her work as she doesn’t want to turn it into a “job” of any sort. “I do love my full time business of creating pretty dog and cat portraits and yet mosaics are my escape from that create-on-demand world. I think that is one reason I often choose squid and bugs as subject matter. I know that nobody is going to ask me to create a mosaic for them of their pet cockroach.” 🙂
However, due in large part to the generous support of her mentor and teacher, Katrina Doran, this year has marked the beginning of taking her mosaics more seriously. Doran curated a show called Exquisite Creatures: the Mermaid and Octopus show. “Seeing my work under gallery lights was just a great feeling. I hope to show more in the future and to start exploring new subjects. I have some outer space theme ideas on the back burner that I want to jump on soon. Like most artists I always tend to have more ideas than time.”
I am absolutely enamoured with her work!!! Colour, texture, layers, vibrance… it has it all!!
And finally Rebecca, with Ajax…