“i sandwich everything in that stuff”


Another Saturday, another episode of ART FOR YOUR EAR! This time I’m talking to full-time graphic designer turned full-time collage artist, Chattanooga Tennessee based Hollie Chastain. We talk materials {there is a lot of gel medium in her world}, being an artist & mother, and she even threw in a hilariously mortifying phone anxiety love story at the very end. You can listen right up there under those lovely ladies, or subscribe on iTunes. As you’re listening, take a look at the work we talked about in the order that we talked about it. Let’s start with the very first piece of Hollie’s that I ever saw/wrote about. It was the lead image in the “curated” blog post that I did for Etsy way back in the day:


Ah, I still love that piece so much! And below is the piece, titled “Afterthought”, that she mentioned when talking about using gel medium not only as glue, but also for image transfers:


I have to try that! Speaking of things I need to try… book covers! Oh, so many found book covers. Her favorites of course being old school text books complete with scribbles by bored children:


Gah! Her book cover pieces are my absolute favorites! Turns out she has a studio FULL of them… see:


Oh. Jealous! Next up, the illustration she did for The Baffler:


Mixed media, indeed! I quickly mentioned that Hollie was one of the artists in my book, Collage… this was the fantastic original she made for the book, along with a shot of one of her double page spreads:


Love. So. Much. And finally, we didn’t actually talk about her studio space, but I found this photo on her site and I absolutely love this crazy beautiful mess:


Doesn’t that make you want to make something right now!? Me too. And with that, I’ll say thank you to Hollie for joining me today, and thanks so much to you for listening {and looking}… there will be another episode waiting for you next Saturday!

ps. oh, and a link to Lisa Congdon’s book, Art Inc. & a link to Dolan Geiman’s site.

comments (23)

  1. Jen /// 08.28.2015 /// 11:22pm

    I tried using gel medium for collage, and totally had issues with it making the ink/colors on my images run! There was no way I could have put a layer of that stuff over my finished product. I ended up using book binding glue to secure the images (to a panel), and then just sprayed the finished product with a matte sealer. Hollie, what is your secret?! How do you get the gel to work? I have a whole jar of it now and am afraid to use it!

  2. Cloudy /// 08.29.2015 /// 3:29am

    I love her work! Very inspiring!

  3. Hollie /// 08.29.2015 /// 9:02am

    Thanks so much, Danielle! It was really fun and not scary at all. :p

    And Jen, I’ve never seen it smear clipped images for me but it will smear ink/drawings. I add any ink at the end to the top. Maybe that’s the problem? Maybe I should do a little tutorial.

  4. Jen /// 08.29.2015 /// 10:11am

    Hollie, thanks for the response. Yes, I think that was the problem. i was collaging in some drawings I had done in colored pencil and as soon as the gel medium hit those images I could see the colors begin to smear. I was able to rescue the work, but it scared me away from the gel medium for sure!

  5. Lannie Hart /// 08.29.2015 /// 10:18am

    Hi use acrylic paint instead of ink and it won’t run with the gel medium. I use it on my paintings.

  6. Rosalina /// 08.29.2015 /// 5:26pm

    I am really enjoying listening to all the podcast interviews. As an artist myself I am often very inspired by their stories. Thank you for such an amazing series.

  7. the jealous curator /// 08.29.2015 /// 8:15pm

    thanks rosalina … i’m a sucker for a good artist story!

  8. Samantha Agar /// 08.29.2015 /// 8:37pm

    I have just let loose in my new studio space with collage and paint and gel medium galore too. I have found my calling and LOVE working this way. Love the book cover idea too.
    Just wanted to say I have had the same issue with some inks etcetera smearing and discovered an aerosol product called “workable fixative” that I use to seal things like stamps and ink drawing before adding gel medium or more paint or whatever. Works great even if it’s a little stinky and you only need a light spray to solve the problem. Got mine at Michael’s but I’m sure you could google it for other retailers.

  9. Blog Day 2015 | Gosto de Canela /// 08.31.2015 /// 2:29pm

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  10. Jennifer Johansson /// 09.01.2015 /// 6:49am

    I’m no good with gel medium either. Several years ago, one of my Flickr artist friends turned me on to Grafix double tack mounting film (aka sticker paper). This changed the game completely for me! Everything lays flat and stays that way!

    Another great episode Danielle. I so enjoy all of the artist shop talk!

  11. Kelly /// 09.01.2015 /// 5:58pm

    I love your books, blog and podcasts!
    If you cover the entire back of the piece of paper you’re gluing with your glue stick of choice (I find permanent glue sticks are best. Coccoina is my favorite) and then place the paper on the substrate and then take a dry rag or paper towel and gently burnish it. No wrinkles!
    Omg, I’ve done the I love you at the wrong time, too. Phone Anxiety People, unite!

  12. the jealous curator /// 09.01.2015 /// 9:22pm

    ah, great tip! thanks kelly, i love you. click.

  13. Pattern Pulp - Friday Quick Links! /// 09.04.2015 /// 2:01pm

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  14. Kelly S. Murray /// 09.07.2015 /// 7:50pm

    Danielle – I love Gel medium. Keep at it – you may end up loving it. Also try the acrylic inks for color rather than thicker acrylic because it can give you the color without the painterly issues. I use this myself and have my intro design students use this. Yet another great podcast. If you see me a lot with comments – I am bingeing on your podcasts and so very much appreciate your work and the artists you are interviewing.

  15. Kayla Barker /// 09.16.2015 /// 11:48am

    Also being a trained graphic designer turned photographer and artist, I loved hearing ya’ll talk about your control freak ways! 🙂 Loved this episode!

  16. the jealous curator /// 09.16.2015 /// 7:15pm

    haha! yep. total control freaks… and owning it 😉

  17. fern /// 09.24.2015 /// 12:35pm

    been listening listening listening and loving everything! today I finally had a chance to look at show note and I am unexpectedly and unreasonably jealous. Hollie is making the collages I dream of. I need to get back at it. Thank you!

  18. Angelica Ocampo /// 10.02.2015 /// 7:42pm

    Man, I am obsessed with your show! I loved this one and I loved how she came from a half business half art degree. I’m finishing up a major in marketing with a minor in art history, and though I probably had the same traumatic art school experience as you did, I love that I can tie in various aspects of art school to my marketing job. Keep up the awesome shows!!!

  19. Kerri Ann /// 12.11.2015 /// 1:45pm

    I love this podcast and Hollie’s work! Both so inspiring and the podcasts are so full of useful and encouraging information. Just finished this one and I’m wondering if this email/tutorial on gel medium as an adhesive ever came into being? I’m a collage artist/illustrator and welcome any info on adhesives that can enhance the process!


  20. chmctyre /// 02.09.2016 /// 8:32am

    In the interview, you two mentioned a ‘support group’. I feel like this podcast acts as my support group. It is so lovely to hear other artists speak to concerns, issues, successes and struggles that we al have. Thank you for sharing!

  21. Ellen Stoune /// 03.05.2017 /// 3:29pm

    I heard about your site through another artist and have just started listening to your podcast – which I LOVE!

    Here’s what is funny… I have one of her prints hanging in my living room! What are the odds?

  22. the jealous curator /// 03.06.2017 /// 7:29am

    ah! i love hollie!

  23. jenn /// 02.24.2018 /// 4:41pm

    That was a funny one 🙂 I used to be a graphic designer too and I had been avoiding collage, even though I love it, because the paper bubbling drove me nuts! I started using gel medium recently too and it works great 🙂

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