Emily's geometric colour-scapes with its jagged edges are great, and I am especially fond of her newer collages that include black and white drawings. She pays close attention to texture instead of messages or blatant imagery, which makes her work feel very abstract and contemporary. I like her book works too, and I look forward to seeing her future works.
Name (Real or Screename): Emily Ann Pothast
URL (Blog, Website): www.emilypothast.com
Location (Where are you from?): Seattle, WA
Q: Describe your work in 10 words or less.
A: Meditative, mosaic-like patterns influenced by folk art and sacred geometry.
Q: What do you like to work with (magazines, photographs, vintage)? Be specific!
A: My works on paper combine collage with pen and colored pencil drawings. My standard collage materials are photographs from magazines, fabric, and handpainted paper. From magazines, I select images for their color and texture: for instance, photographs of human hair, shag carpet, or a starry sky. I will also cut up old artworks to incorporate into new images.
Q: How long have you been creating collages and what made you start?
A: When I was a grad student (2003-2005), I made a series of collages using different colored advertising text to create patterns based on stained glass cathedral windows, including one that was eight feet high. Since then, I have been making collage/drawings because the materials are versatile and simple. Everything can be done easily in a home studio.
Q: Are you solely an artist, or do you work in another profession?
A: In addition to being a visual artist, I'm a musician (I sing in a band called Midday Veil), a writer (I have an art blog called Translinguistic Other) and I work in an art gallery specializing in original antique prints.
Q: Do you have any formal art training?
A: I do. I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from a small college in Texas and a Master of Fine Arts degree with an emphasis in printmaking from the University of Washington. Being a printmaker has taught me a lot about different papers, as well as the importance of craftsmanship and using archival materials (if you want to make things that don't fall apart!)
Q: Explain your favourite techniques.
A: My recent body of work has been based on abstract, semi-geometric forms. I usually begin by sketching the outlines of a composition and then I use tracing paper to make stencils for the shapes I want to fill in with collage elements. Lately, I've been scanning areas of my collages and printing them in different sizes on photographic paper, then using the photographs of previous collages to generate new collages based on repetition of forms.
Q: Describe your favourite piece ever created.
A: I have lots of favorites, but recently I was asked by the guest curator of the Seattle Erotic Art Festival to create some "erotic" work for the festival's exhibition. At first I thought this was a ridiculous request... my work is abstract and geometric, not erotic! But I decided I liked the challenge and set out to make a collage that relied on abstraction to embody sensuality and the human form. The resulting image is L'Origine du Monde ("The Origin of the World," named for a much more explicit painting by the 19th century realist Gustav Courbet). I ended up loving the image, and have been using photographs of sections of it as collage elements in other works.
Q: What other artists do you admire?
A: I believe creativity has a basis in spirituality, in that it seems to rely on mysterious, unseen forces outside our regular avenues of experience to operate. For me, creating is a ritualistic, meditative act, and so I am most drawn to artists who have visions, hear voices, or otherwise strive to communicate their otherworldly experiences in images. I love William Blake, Wassily Kandinsky, Hildegard von Bingen, Mikalojus Čiurlionis, Augustin Lesage, and Adolf Wölfli. I also look at lots of folk art, Hindu and Buddhist iconography, medieval manuscript paintings, Northern Renaissance artists, and early woodcuts and engravings by artists like Albrecht Dürer and Martin Schongauer.