Happy weekend! Today, collage artist Hollie Chastain and I are pretending to be at Aretha Frankenstein’s in Chattanooga TN. Ready for a giant stack o’ pancakes? Of course you are!
HC: oh man, that’s the big question. there is usually a bit of a wait here, because it is amazing, so i have time to think and fret. i’m thinking the sodbuster omelette this morning with coffee and orange juice. but if you’ve never had their pancakes, then you have to try those.
JC: is this your usual brunch place? your kids must LOVE it here!
HC: they do love it! i don’t bring them as often as i should. is that awful? i think it is. brunch is usually my recovery, quiet, down-time with the husband or a friend after a night out when the kids are at the grandparents so they miss out. now i feel bad and i’ll have to bring them this weekend for some yummy goodness.
JC: you better! they might smell the pancakes on you when you get home! speaking of kids, you sometimes have children in your collages – are those your kids? do they represent your kids, or are they totally unrelated?
HC: some of them are my kids but i’ve only done that intentionally maybe once or twice. a few times i have unintentionally worked them into compositions. i don’t notice it at first until someone points out that it looks just like one or the other of them.
JC: so when we’re finished, what are you going to do for the rest of the weekend? art stuff? family stuff? both?
HC: i think that all of my time is a little bit of both. during the week i work until family stuff pulls me away and it’s the opposite on the weekends. i just got a fresh and wonderful batch of books so i know i won’t be able to stay away from the studio all day. i can feel those covers calling me!
JC: oh, your book covers…. i LOVE your book covers!!! do you have collages planned in your mind and then you go looking for the covers, or will finding a good one spark an idea for a piece?
HC: thanks! i really love making them. i never plan them ahead of time. when i find one i like i sit down with my scraps and move things around until something feels perfect. most of the time i will first decide what i can’t bear to cover up on the original cover and that is the beginning of the shape of the composition.
JC: where do you find all of those old books, and images that make their way into your collages?
HC: any thrift store or antique store usually has a book section and within that section a box or shelf or bin full of scrappy books. old textbooks are the best. the paper quality is heavy and sturdy because it had to survive years of constant manhandling by children. they also have the best doodles! i always try and find things that are at least a little bit falling-apart-ish but still have sturdy, straight covers. i remember being in a tiny little shop, in a tiny house, outside of nashville and i found a ratty old newspaper from the 60s. as i was purchasing my stack i patiently listened to the owner describe in detail how to steam off the price sticker – i couldn’t manage to tell him i was going to disassemble it for the parts.
JC: ha! probably best not to break it to him! ahhh, thanks so much for having brunch with me hollie! let me get the cheque ; )
HC: you are too kind. thanks, this has been super fun!