Since collage was popularized in the early 1900′s, it has been embraced by all types of artists and designers. Even 100 years later in the era of digital imagery, there is still innovation coming from those working with just paper and glue. Amanda Beck is one such person who, since starting to use collage to create her Victorian inspired scenes, has not looked back. Witty and thought-provoking, Amanda uses the medium to explore the absurdity of the human mind. Taking an opportunity to delve inside her mind, I found a passionate artist who is just as interesting as the work she makes.
Undercover Robot: What made you decide to go with collage as your primary focus? What benefits does it have over other processes?
Amanda Beck: Well… honestly… It’s super tangible and tactile. I love process and I am not an “end result” kind of artist, I love to get my hands dirty. After I tinkered with assemblages and the like, I wanted to see if I could follow the same sort of process in 2D. I wanted to have the same cut and paste experience with paper, and it helped with immediacy. I know that is contradictory to what I said about results, but that is what process is… seeing your work grow and transform. I have nailed down the process to a few steps and I can get the show on the road with minimal time, which is good, because since I am raising a toddler I have so little of it.
UR: As a maker of collages it’s essential that you choose the right primary images for your work. What comes first, concept or materials?
AB: Concept, then materials… but the materials definitely dictate where each composition is going. I started doing these anthropomorphic drawings and paintings, then moved to collage. Actually, I did drawings, paintings and 3D assemblages… I have all these little creatures in three-dimensional formats sitting around. The collages were an offshoot, I think, of the assemblages.
UR: I definitely saw the connection between your 3D and 2D works. What is it about Victorian animal/human hybrids that interests you?
AB: Ambiguity, the inexplicable, bizarre juxtapositions, I am really drawn to those themes… I’m not sure why. I have always been a fan of the obscure and seemingly enigmatic; I keep a dream journal; I am obsessed with Alice in Wonderland and I use the Victorian/vintage images because they are familiar and foreign. I think that sums up most of the imagery that I use. I want people to look twice, and to not be able to take it in at first glance. Curiosity plays a role.