Suhm welcomes collage artist Caitlin Ziegler.
Caitlin Ziegler | Suhm Artist | Melbourne, VIC
Suhm is thrilled to welcome Caitlin Ziegler’s collections to the store. Her cut and paste pieces are the perfect juxtaposition of the playful craft and elegant, sophisticated compositions. Layered both literally and figuratively, Ziegler’s art is, in some ways, like the publications that supply the materials; it's likely you'll find something new each time you take another look. Caitlin chatted to us about her process and the inspiration behind her creations and their titles, which are as intriguing as they are hard to pronounce.
What’s your creative background?
I’ve worked as a designer for many years, predominately in graphic / communication design but also in learning strategy and instructional design. I’ve been fortunate to have worked on a huge variety of projects, including beer festival branding, wallpaper collections, book covers and illustration. I’ve illustrated a few books, the latest A Construction of Cranes with Margaret Robson Kett. What I love about design (and creative thinking, generally) is that the principles can apply to anything; for me the joy is in solving a problem simply and imaginatively and then crafting the best story to communicate it.
The most obvious place to start is your distinctive technique. What drew you to this collage process of image-making?
I’ve played around with collage for a long time, mostly for my own fun. I’m pretty obsessed with colour – it’s how I organise most things – and the style I’m currently playing with came out of creating colour studies. I love the process of physically cutting and pasting and moving elements around until the composition works but also love the flexibility and scope digital collage can add. I use a lot of fabric texture; I’ve always loved renaissance paintings, particularly the way fabric is used to both hide and reveal bodies and create movement and drama. I’ve also always loved rocks – I have many collections! Exploring colour, playing with the contrast of fabric and rock, and working to reveal and hide figures within the composition was how these pieces came together.
There’s a striking quality to the pieces that is at the same time sculptural, organic, and tactile. You can get lost in the layers and details like a blooming flower’s petals. How would you describe your art?
I hope that there’s a hint of a greater story, a character within the artwork. Theses pieces are named after eight of the (many) muses in Greek mythology; there are bits of each muses’ characteristics captured in the composition. I wanted them to feel otherworldly, but also that their motivations were opaque. Female characters in ancient myths are often portrayed as devious and frequently punished, and yet, they are complex, strong and interesting characters and I love exploring their stories and reimagining them.
Can we expect to see more of this type of work from you, or have you got some other styles you like to explore?
I’ve definitely got some more exploration to go on this style and theme! I’d also love to explore some more abstract work. I’ve been playing with some more mixed media artwork too – incorporating acrylic painting and ink pen with collage elements.
Let’s talk about other artists for a moment. Ideal world, no budget, who or what would you be putting on your walls?
Maira Kalman is one of my absolute favourites, I would love one of her paintings. Her work is deceptively simple but full of character and story, she uses colour so beautifully and often unexpectedly. I love Fred Fowler’s work – I’d have any one of his paintings too. And Polixeni Papapetrou is one of my favourite photographers, I’d love any number of her works on my wall. If money was no object, I’d have a still life by Juan Sanchez de Cotán. There’s something about his series of hanging fruit and vegetables that is quirky, unsettling and modern. I could keep going – there are so many artists and too many artworks I’d love to stare at every day!
When you’re not cutting up magazines, where can we find you?
Writing is my other great creative love. Some of the characters from my art definitely find their way into stories and vice versa. I’ve got two very creative kids; we all spend a lot of time crafting, writing and drawing on the weekends. I’ve recently taken up boxing as an effort to get fitter, it’s something I’ve enjoyed more than I thought I would and has definitely had a positive impact on my mental health. Sometimes you just need to punch it out.
Keep an eye on our Figurative collections as there will be more of Caitlin's work to come.