Scribble Town (ST): The first time I spotted Adrienne Moumin’s photo collages I was stunned by their design and beauty. And then curiosity hit! How did she do that? Where are these images coming from and how is it so that from one concrete image it is perfectly cut and spliced and then re-contextualized all to have it’s meaning turned upside down. Adrienne is here with us to share with us her creative story!
Adrienne Moumin (AM): I was born in 1961 in Brooklyn, NY. I work in film-based, hand-printed, B&W photography, and hand-cut-and-assembled, mixed-media photo collage.
Sculpture Garden Hirshhorn; 33” x 33” Hand-Cut-and- Assembled Gelatin Silver Photo Collage; 2009 by Adrienne Moumin
I am best known for my Architextures series of handmade photo collages. My favorite photographic subjects are NYC architecture and urban landscapes, and store window mannequins.
This is me (with a selection of my Architextures photo collages) in my booth at the Architectural Digest Home Design Show, Pier 94 in NYC, March 21-24, 2013. I made a great many contacts in the architecture and interior design fields, as well as directly with people who buy art for their homes and offices.
My photography and collage have been exhibited in New York, and nationwide, for over fifteen years. My work is in private collections in the US and internationally.
ST: Your photographs and collages have been on the move for quite a while now! Where are you and what are you up to these days?
AM: I am based in New York, NY and Silver Spring, MD. I split my time between the two cities: showroom in NYC, and studio and darkroom in MD. I am continuing to work on my Architextures series, as well as coming back to the surrealist mixed-media collage style that I have dabbled in for years. I recently sold one of those pieces to someone who is wildly enthusiastic, and has encouraged me to produce more work in that genre.
ST: I like the name of your series, Architextures. It gives a tangible feeling to the photo collages, but also a sense of having a strong structure to the series. When did you start making collages and taking photographs? Was there somebody that encouraged you?
AM: I began working in cut-paper collage starting at about 8 years of age, using magazines and catalogs that would come to the house, to decorate whatever I could find. A major project in childhood was decorating the top of a castoff bookcase with hand-cut magazine pictures. I began photographing seriously, and studying film and darkroom processes, in my ‘20’s. I have been completely self-propelled in my artistic endeavors.
Snippetree; 19" x 13 ¼" x 1 ½” Deep Hand-Cut-and- Assembled 3-D Gelatin Silver Photo Collage; Made from over 300 pieces cut from 10 duplicate prints; 2011 by Adrienne Moumin
ST: That’s great to hear that you have been making collages since your were 8 years old! Where do you find yourself feeling really inspired to create? I really like your stories on your website especially the one under Architectural Detail. You write, “Someone told me once that I was an architect in another life. I love the curves and the lines, the reflections and the tonalities, the solidity and transparency, and the man-made striving for esthetic and functional perfection, of architectural forms.” To read more of Adrienne’s stories please go to http://www.picturexhibit.com/index.html.
AM: So many things inspire me!: Walking around the city, looking at architecture and urban landscapes; fashions worn by passersby; and store window displays. And, of course, looking at the art of others, in galleries, museums, and online.
ST: Inspiration is one thing, but skill is another. How do you hand print silver gelatin photographs? What is the process? I’m sure we are all interested in the magic of the dark room.
AM: I use an enlarger, which is a device that shines a light through the photographic negative, and projects it below onto the light-sensitive paper that I place there. Then I put the paper through a series of chemicals in trays, to develop and fix that latent image. This is all done under a reddish-orange “safelight,” which provides just enough light for me to see what I am doing, yet does not affect the paper.
ST: What forms of art do you include in your mixed media photo collages? What are some tools you like to use?
AM: I always start with the photograph, and what it suggests to me in terms of feeling and mood. There is no limit to what I will attach to the surface of a photograph. Paper cutouts, glass or plastic beads, sequins, Swarovski crystals, metal stampings…the list never ends!
- Time Warner Center; 20” x 43” Hand-Cut-and-Assembled Gelatin Silver Photo Collage; 2009 by Adrienne Moumin
ST: What kind of music do you like? Is there something you are listening to at the moment while you make art?
AM: Music is very important to me when I am printing in the darkroom. In keeping with the analog nature of my work (and my refusal to replace a perfectly functioning technology simply because something new comes out), I have a little boombox in there which plays cassettes and CDs! Two of the CDs I nearly always listen to during printing sessions are the first album from Counting Crows, “August and Everything After,” and The Band’s “Greatest Hits.”
The Victory Arpeggios; 25½” x 25¾” x 3/8” deep Hand-Cut-and- Assembled 3-D Gelatin Silver Photo Collage; 2012 by Adrienne Moumin
ST: Adrienne, you have given us a great start to create and how to look at things differently! What is a piece of advice for parents and their little scribblers?
AM: For the parents: Look at some collage sites on the internet, and google different search terms, to find age-approriate project ideas for children; many require little or no money. Talk to your children about what they would enjoy; you never know when an idea will spark a fire that lasts a lifetime.
For scribblers: Just do what you feel. Because art has no rules.
I found this on Pinterest, and followed the link to this ingenious project, posted by art teacher Sherri Schultz. It is simply using our imaginations to expand on an image.
ST: You are right- art has no rules and now is the time to explore and create! Thank you, Adrienne!
To find the tools to get started on your own collage please have a look at Adrienne’s suggested art activity that expands your image http://www.scribbleshop.com/content/exploring-expansion-your-image-and-imagination