We invited Pretty Owl Poetry art contributor, Jessica Earhart, to talk about her collages, healing through mindfulness, and bath bombs. Check out her art on the cover of Pretty Owl’s Summer 2018 issue.
Pretty Owl Poetry: How would you describe and define collage art?
Jessica Earhart: To me collage art is an experience having endless possibilities with limited materials and finding the combination that just feels right. There is a lot of problem solving and intuition that goes into finding images that were never meant to be paired together but make a perfect match. The entire process from collecting imagery to formulating a composition is very thrilling to me.
POP: What kind of supplies and materials do you use?
JE: My collage work is analogue therefore most of my materials are physical images. I have been doing collage for ten years and essentially have a library of collected source material including magazines, books, photographs, and maps. The oldest printed materials I have are from the late 1800s, and I have a collection from most time periods after that. I like the depth and texture you can build with print from different eras.
In terms of supplies, I use tiny scissors and an x-acto knife to cut out images. My preferred glue is spray adhesive. I find that the images lay flat without any bubbling flat and the glue still has a strong hold.
POP: What kind of art draws you in?
JE: Strong usage of color and line draws me in across all art movement draws. I especially relate to expressionist and surrealist art. I love art that makes me feel something that I don’t understand.
POP: How do you come up with the names for your pieces?
JE: More recently, I have been working off of themes or series and will have the names in mind prior to creating each piece. I had a goddess series and made a list of goddesses I wanted to honor through collage. I tend to have esoteric names for my standalone collages. I arrive at the names for those pieces by summing up how I felt during the creation process or what it makes me think of at upon completion.
POP: Pie, cake or neither?
JE: Let them eat cake! Cupcakes are magic. It’s a tiny cake made just for you.
POP: A lot of your work features female figures incorporated into the landscape. What is it that draws you to the female form and its deconstruction?
JE: This describes my most recent project PEAK, a collage series I turned into zine by pairing the collages with haikus I wrote about my experience with healing and finding self love through mindfulness. The juxtaposition of the female form within the mountainous landscapes symbolizes my experience with reclaiming my body after deep rooted trauma while declaring my strength. My work is inspired by my experiences and dreams and influenced by my identity. I strongly identify as a feminist and using feminine imagery allows my voice to show through in my art.
POP: Your website says you make bath products, what’s your ideal surrealist bath bomb?
JE: I’m a big advocate for self care and recently got really into making bath bombs, bath salts, and crystal infused perfume oils. I like the idea of a 60 minute sunlapse bath bomb. The bath bomb would immediately transform the bathwater into a night sky and then into a sunrise. The water would from sunrise to sunset in an hour and the fragrance would evolve from a bright citrus scent to a relaxing lavender.
POP: You produce zines, comics, and prints of your art. Can you talk a little bit about why you chose these mediums in particular and some of the advantages and challenges you’ve encountered while producing art in a printed form?
JE: I currently have 4 analogue collage zines in print: PEAK, Land|Scape, Blue Sky at Night and ISM. My first zines were self printed and had a very DIY look to them. ISM is the only zine I still self print in black and white. I learned through getting prints of my work that digital printing of an analogue collage creates a flat yet crisp image, and I decided to take my zines in a different direction with this discovery. I learned to use Photoshop, ClipStudio, and InDesign to produce digital print files. There was definitely a learning curve with initialing using these tools, but I think learning to use the tools optimally for the collage medium has been the biggest challenge.
My collage comic project, Khloris, now has three issues out. The first issue is mostly analogue, the second issue is all digital, and the third issue is mostly digital. I initially used ClipStudio for the book layout creating panels for each page of Khloris, but I soon realized that I could use the tool to create digital collages to tell the story. It gave me a lot of freedom to express more movement with the characters by working digitally. The analogue panels in the third issue were used intentionally when one of the characters is in another dimension. Overall, it’s been a lot of fun finding new ways to create with the introduction of digital tools.