Collages of the Heart by Ria Bauwens
Ria Bauwens, a photographer and visual artist, creates intuitive collage artwork where the emphasis is on fluid artistic expression. Her work aims to create a new narrative through the abstraction of found imagery - distorting the initial intent into her own artistic representation.
Tell us more about yourself and your artwork.
My name is Ria Bauwens and I have been a mail artist for the past 15 years. I studied photography and have been using the medium since then as a means of expressing myself in my art. Through the mail art network I discovered so many talented artists in so many different disciplines. I started doing soft block and lino carvings, designing artistamps and making collages. I learned to share and enjoy work from all different kinds of artists. All through the regular mailing system. Occasionally there are mail art meetings and chances to get to know each other in person. But these occasions are rare. My collage work has been made for sending out for trading and for answering ‘mail art calls’.
How do you plan out a collage piece? Where do you like to source images from?
I usually work in series, from 6 to 12 pieces at a time. Meanwhile I am also working on separate somewhat larger collage pieces and collaborations with other collage makers ( right now I am in a large collab with Antonio Occulto from Norway.)
I have collected old books, old dictionaries, zines, newspapers, contemporary zines and rescued paper. All of which I use when I think it is suitable for what I do at the moment. I work very impulsive and intuitive and there is no strict goal unless I am working on themed series. I work analog so there is not too much of manipulation in one collage. Looking for a kind of graphic and/ or colour balance along with a more( or less) explicit idea is thus important.
What work inspires you or has inspired you?
Lots of artists have inspired me along the way, both known and unknown. If I have to mention a few : John Heartfield, Hannah Hoch, Picasso, Matisse, Schwitters, Cornell, Hockney...and then there are thousands of artists that I think are all so interestingly working in the medium of collage. I found many through Instagram and started following their feed.
Are there any artistic movements you enjoy in particular and why?
The DADA and FLUXUS movement are so very liberating when it comes to expressing your ideas, your feelings and made me believe that there is no need to HAVE to be doing something, as long as you stay true to yourself and as long as you respect other people’s way of expressing themselves.
Do you have any opinions or ideals underlying your art?
Making Art is part of life, a daily happening. It is a way to come to terms with myself and the world. Even though Art may not change the world, it is very important that there is always the freedom of expression. And the fact that people can connect through Art.
Any tips for aspiring photographers wanting to work with collage?
Putting the camera aside and trying to make a new image without it can be a good challenge. I think photographers have a certain way of seeing or composing images and collage making could help finding a new way of expressing oneself . Working with other people’s images (or parts of images) can be very relaxing. Creating a new world. It is freeing.