Return to Collage / by Sarah Braden

The abstract paintings I created and sold like wild fire in 2017 were starting to feel like production rather than creativity and expression. I love creating the paintings but I knew I needed to change my art and evolve to avoid burning out completely. These feelings along with the changing trends in art making, have both been contributing factors to the recent push back into collage. The viral popularity of fluid pour painting has changed my methods and pushed me to try new things as an artist, but it has also changed how viewers see my work. At shows I have had very good natured well intended people disregard my work as pour painting, without even realizing how insulting that is. People in the art world don’t even see those methods as “fine art”, I have heard from gallerists that using resin to seal paintings is kitschy. Interesting since the public is so incredibly drawn to it. Its shiny!

I created collages all through collage, as I struggled to find voice within the illustration and graphic design field. It makes sense that these methods have come back into my art practice now that I have evolved as a freelance fine artist. Always, my collages are seen as narratives of female empowerment in all environments. I have done pieces for fashion mood boards that focus on professionalism, style and hygiene in the workplace as a marketer in the past, however this new body of work is a different message and theme. I have created pieces specifically embedded with sexual freedom, and empowerment. The issue of sex shaming women and girls from early ages in our culture is hidden in plain sight. I experience this often, and I don’t consider myself a victim. Its something that I (and many other women) have endured on a dull volume since puberty and throughout adulthood. This year I started combining the methods i’ve used to create resin paintings and applied them to creating collages. Through the evolution of these methods, I created a series of empowered women who are actively rising above the judgments of society to become the best versions of themselves.