Otherworldly collage from artist Erin Case
by Maria Raposo
Erin Case is a KOD collage artist whose striking creations are spread across the web. Featured in a vast array of online blogs and magazines, her popularity stems from a seamless ability to merge human figures with sublime landscapes and cosmic backdrops. The viewer who takes their time will discover darker undercurrents and a playful style that is rife with hints of transience and mortality. We spoke to the Michigan-based artist about her love of collaborations and how feeling emotional makes her more creative:
KOD: You've done quite a lot of collaborations in the past - how do the results differ from working alone?
Erin Case: Well, there's always a little difference in having set guidelines which really isn't something I've done outside of school. It's more challenging. I love collaborations.
KOD: You've done a few collaborations with Andrew Tamlyn, including your haircut series. How did that partnership come about?
Erin Case: We had been friends for quite a long time, and were room mates at the time. We were pretty much always working on some project or another together, mostly collaborating on photographs.
He went on vacation with his family for the summer, and it was like the longest we had ever gone without working on something together. So, he's on vacation out West and I'm sitting home totally missing my creative cohort and he starts posting these really great Instagram photos of his travels. It just kind of clicked instantly, and I used them - along with the hairstyle photos, to create the haircut pieces. So it was a long-distance collaboration.
KOD: So with this project you used original photographs - is this normal?
Erin Case: It's not at all my norm. I usually source images from old magazines and books. Mostly National Geographic. I have like ten years’ worth of Nat Geos piled in my bedroom.
KOD: You seem very drawn to nature in your work - does this translate to your everyday life?
Erin Case: I'm not, by nature, drawn to nature. I'm a homebody to a fault these days. I definitely WANT to be outside; I'm just kind of a weird hermit though.
KOD: You like to work in a state of "emotional upset". How does this help?
Erin Case: It's when feelings are most at the surface, and so they're easier to tap into. Like, seeing the potential for expression in source elements is more prominent. I could be in a neutral mood and see some landscape and see it as just that- a landscape. But, being wound up emotionally and seeing it- I'm more likely to see something beyond that.
KOD: Do you feel that art calms you?
Erin Case: Yeah, it does. It forces me to get a handle on my perspective. I can pretty much handle anything, so long as I know how I feel about it. It's those moments when you don't really know how to feel about something- or when you are just lost and confused- that are the most unsettling.
KOD: If you are happy or neutral can you still create?
Erin Case: Yeah. More likely when I'm happy than when I'm neutral. I consider happiness a state of emotional upset as much as sadness. I can still create when I'm neutral, but I'm never as satisfied with the outcome.
KOD: How do your collages comment on the human condition?
Erin Case: Being related to the human condition is something that could be said about most all of my work, but each concerned with a different aspect.
My work is about emotions that are exclusive to humans. For example, "Breaking Beau" is about overwhelming someone with your sadness, "Moon Balloon" is about trying to hold onto something that is illogical- and impossible to hold on to.
See more of Erin's work here.