Artist creates dynamic collages using found photographs and books

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Mixed media artist Hollie Chastain explores the narrative potential of the objects found in her energetic collages. These textured pieces are created from layers of old photographs, books and scraps of paper that the artist ties together in new stories of his own invention. Chastain states that she is an “illustrator at heart,” which motivates her creative decision-making in these skillful compositions.

Based in Chattanooga, Tennesse, Chastain has a background in both graphic design and classical art. In fact, the artist didn’t start making collages until 2008. “I was looking for a new start in the studio and had never experienced collage at all,” she tells My Modern Met. Chastain used his pre-existing collection of paper ephemera and antique books as the basic materials for his designs. As she continued to create collages, the artist fell in love with the visual history latent in particularly old books – like stamps as library and school identification – which she reuses in her work.

Chastain finds the “characters” for his collages through the rich picture materials of National geography magazines from the 60s and 70s. However, due to the strong will to tell stories in his plays, their use may take some time. “I have a stack of characters cut out on my desk waiting for their perfect scene,” says Chastain.

The artist is constantly finding new ways to create his collages. Some of his notable pieces include the use of the library card pocket as a balcony for the characters and the torn edges of torn papers like mountains or abstract waves. Recently, Chastain has also started weaving to unite its various paper elements with thread.

For those who wish to learn the art of collage, Chastain recently published an instruction book on collage making, titled If you can cut, you can paste. You can also keep up to date with the artist’s latest creations by following her on Instagram.

Mixed media artist Hollie Chastain creates dynamic collages using photographs and found books.

Collages by Hollie Chastain

Chastain uses his various vintage materials to create new stories.

Collages by Hollie ChastainCollages by Hollie ChastainCollages by Hollie ChastainCollages by Hollie ChastainCollages by Hollie ChastainCollages by Hollie ChastainCollages by Hollie ChastainCollages by Hollie ChastainCollages by Hollie ChastainCollages by Hollie Chastain

Hollie Chastain: Website | Instagram | Twitter

My Modern Met has granted permission to present photos of Hollie Chastain.

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