Friday, July 6, 2012

Lora Vahlsing

Note from Mel:  This marks the tenth and final post about various artists who work with ephemera.  I put out the call on June 22 and I got some wonderful responses!  

Good Friday, everyone!  Here we are, at the end of our Ephemera Artist series!  I hope you've enjoyed seeing all of the varied and wonderful art that these talented folks have created with ephemera - it just goes to show you that the sky's the limit!  

Our final artist, Lora Vahlsing, is no exception!  Lora is one of the three artists in this series who I know in "real life".  We met via mutual friends at an exhibit about a year ago - she and her beautiful daughter Emerson (named for one of her favorite poets, Ralph Waldo) came to a show put on by Wisconsin Visual Arts that I was in.  We had corresponded via Facebook before that, but it was great to finally put a face to the chat!  :D

Lora is a very spiritual person, which is evident (to me, anyway) in her work.  It's very fluid and colorful, and there is much meaning in the work she does.  She is a yoga instructor, and the peace and serenity she's gained from this aspect of her life is apparent in her collages.  Here's how Lora explains working with ephemera, in her own words:
"I began using ephemera while I lived abroad in Korea many years ago. I had a job I didn’t like and didn’t have a lot of money for supplies. I began painting and using receipts because I loved how the Korean characters looked. I loved layering and creating visual texture through the use of ephemera and colors. Eventually when I returned stateside I began using maps. I’ve always loved maps, not so much for any practical use, but rather because of the beautiful lines and colors they have. I enjoy using ephemera in my artwork because it expresses a moment in my life and what I’m doing and also I believe that artwork is a practice and it doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. The practice of using ephemera in my artwork has really helped me appreciate items that are short lived. Truly, beauty is everywhere." 
Right on!  That's another reason why collaging with ephemera is so appealing - you don't have to invest a ton of money into supplies. An ephemera collage, as Lora discovered, is as close as a road map: 

Here is one of Lora's map collages - see what I mean by "fluid"?  I love how you can clearly see the Wisconsin behind the myriad paint colors but it's not the focal point of the piece.  Her work shown here has a very ethereal quality to it.

In this companion piece (which I could totally see framed as a diptych!), the Wisconsin map isn't quite as evident, but the hint of it still calls out to the viewer.  The two pieces are so cohesive that even though you may not see the map, you just know it's there.  They're both so beautiful, no?  :D

Thank you, Lora, for sharing these pieces, and for answering the call!

Now that we've completed our two week series, it is my wish that you budding collage artists reading these posts are excited and inspired to get started interpreting ephemera in your own way!  As you can see here through this journey of ten artists, ephemera is in the eye of the beholder.  How you view the everyday snippets of our daily lives will be completely different from how I view it, simply because you're you and I'm me!  We can let the ephemera speak through us in our art.  So whether your pleasure is maps, vintage catalogs, text, junk mail, foreign items or found objects, we can all make something beautiful with the daily "stuff" that makes up our world.  Thank you so much for reading these posts and following these very talented artists!  I've enjoyed every minute of it!

P.S.  If you missed this first round but would like to be featured as a collage artist, I'll be doing this again, probably mid- to late December.  :D

1 comment:

  1. Ooh! I really like her use of colorful paints! It would be a beautiful painting just by itself, but the map underneath adds another layer of interest! So cool!