Elizabeth St. Hilaire
My love of collage started with a scrap box of mementos from my childhood. These small sentimental pieces of my past came from my father, who rescued them from the attic years ago. Stuffing these tidbits into a box beneath my bed seemed anticlimactic. I remember standing there, after my father left, looking at the hospital bill from my birth, my Mom’s nursing school graduation cards from 1967, and thinking what should I do with this? I decided to find a way to incorporate these memorable papers, notes and snippets of my family’s past into something both memorable and beautiful. Thus was born a representational collage “painting.” This piece, Looking in on Jane (a portrait of my mother), won Best of Show for the first time at Orlando Visual Artists League in 2005, and for a second time at the Women’s Caucus for Arts’ Matriarchs and Madonnas exhibit in 2007. The success of this piece plunged me head-first into my love affair with collage. My technique has evolved through the years as a result of experimentation with hand-painted, hand-made, and a wide variety of textured and patterned papers. Layering and weaving, pushing and pulling the colors, patterns, and values makes collage liken to dance. I go back and forth, alternating and overlapping until the rhythm creates something I love. In my work, I highlight the extraordinary within the ordinary, focusing on intense and vibrant colors combined with a sensibility of design. My collages invite the viewer to look, and having looked, to linger.