From: Kareem rizk [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: 29 March 2011 06:03
To: Chloe Jones
Subject: Re: You work
I am currently studying in my second year towards my illustration degree. I have been looking at your work recently for inspiration.
I was wondering if you could spare a few minutes to answer a few questions for me please.
Thanks for your time and keep up the amazing work!
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1. You seem to use a lot of collage in your work, do you have a large resource or do you find it as you need it?
Over the last few years I've collected quite a large resource of materials in the form of magazines, books, brochures, pamphlets, catalogs, postcards and found paper. I'm always adding new materials to my collection. and most of the imagery and elements for my work comes from here. But often when I do freelance work I will need to source new imagery as I need it because I can't always find the right imagery in my collection.
2. Recently, I have found that older elements that have less ‘meaning’ in a modern society convey an idea better, would you agree?
3. Do you prefer to put your work together manually or digitally? Why?
I prefer to make handmade (analogue/manual) collages. I started out this way because I had a growing appreciation for traditional mediums and tactile art in general. Only a fraction of my work is digital and this method originally started as an experimentation later on in replicating realistic texture and layering with a digital medium. There are some techniques and effects that I use consistently throughout my digital work which are much harder and sometimes impossible to achieve with traditional techniques. However, there is something a lot more personal and organic about handmade work that doesn't exist on the digital platform. The process of working manually is more natural and it can often be meditative. The feel of the paper, textures and layers also adds to the experience and almost ritual of collecting materials an arranging them on the working surface.
4. Was it difficult for you to get your name ‘out there’? How did you combat this?
I knew early on that visibility was key and I knew that visibility could only come from consistent promotion of my work. I basically just set out to get my work seen in as many places as possible. In the beginning all of my visibility was only on the internet. Very shortly after I started making collages I started promoting my work online. I created a personal website with a large collection of my work, I submitted my work to numerous online magazines and blogs and I did several mail-outs to a growing contact list of galleries, print sites, forums, blogs etc whenever I added major updates to my website. This way I made sure that I was off to a good start. The internet is a powerful tool and it provides great opportunities for many artists. So I basically used what I could to the best of my ability.
I also gained a lot of knowledge and ideas about promotion through doing a lot of research. I looked at how other artists were promoting their work in their respective fields and I basically observed their methods as a model on which I could base my own approach to self promotion.
5. Do you get a lot of commissions or do you tend to work more on editorials?
By now I've probably done an equal amount of commissions and freelance work. But over the last few months I've been putting a bit more focus on promoting myself as a freelance illustrator with two major illustration agencies. My reputation as an artist and all that is associated with that has been continually gaining momentum so rarely do I have to seek out opportunities - they come in almost continuously. Doing more freelance illustration however requires that you are a bit more proactive in seeking out work. So over the next few months I will probably have done quite a bit more editorial work.
6. Do you prefer to collage or are there other techniques you like to play around with too?
I'm a collagist so my main medium of course is collage. But when I started making collages in 2006 I immediately started experimenting with various other mediums and incorporating these mediums into my work on a regular basis. The most common of these mediums have been oil pastel, acrylic, pencil and solvent transfers. My technique of using solvent transfers involved brushing turpentine onto a carbon photocopy, placing the photocopy face down onto the working surface and rubbing the back of it. The black carbon from the photocopy was then transferred onto the working surface and it would dry within a few minutes leaving a reversed image. This technique was very related to printmaking.
As I started working on bigger pieces I needed to find ways of reproducing imagery on a larger scale. This is where I introduced acrylic transfers. This process involves a laser photocopy being brushed with a thin layer of Gel medium and left to dry which creates a transparent film over the photocopy. The photocopy is then soaked in warm water and the wet paper is rubbed off the back. What your left with is a thin transparent film with the laser toner image embedded onto the surface of the film. This film can then be pasted onto canvas while any air bubbles are smoothed out. This technique is useful for creating overlay effects with acrylic paint and textures underneath. This technique is also especially ideal for multiple photocopies tiled together to make a much larger version of an image.