"I started collaging 3 or 4 years ago and once I started I couldn’t stop. I remember rushing home with a new magazine because I found a beautiful image that I wanted to experiment with."
- Jennifer Eliza
Introducing Jennifer Eliza. A twenty-six year old photographer and collagist from Brooklyn, New York. Explorations of the relationship between humans and their environment are central in Jennifer's work. With all her collages made by hand, there is a remarkable refinement to her artwork. We spoke to her about her work...
How did you find art? And when did you realise you were an artist? I do not think there was a specific defining moment when I thought “I am an artist,” I’ve always identified as one. Since I was a child, I’ve always painted, drawn, colored and throughout my life I’ve experimented with all mediums. Finding art in everything you do makes the world a visceral place.
What attracted you to collages above other mediums of self-expression? I started collaging 3 or 4 years ago and once I started I couldn’t stop. I remember rushing home with a new magazine because I found a beautiful image that I wanted to experiment with. It soon grew to an obsession and there is something so palpable and tangible about analogue (physical) collaging compared to digital. With physical you can rip paper, layer and still maintain the texture, which is what I love about it.
The relationship between humans and their environment seem central in your art. Is this a conscious exploration? And if so, why? The way people react with their environment is a crucial piece. The way an arm looks laying down in a desert versus a leafy jungle is a such a different mood. I think it depends on the mood I'm in when I create the human landscapes, it’s more subconscious.
Sometimes viewing your work is like being transported into a dream-world. Are they ever a product of your dreams? Haha! I wish my dreams were this colourful. I am influenced by surrealism in many ways, which translates into my work.
What’s the most challenging part of making collages for you? Sometimes I just can’t find the right puzzle piece. I cut so many different body parts and shapes and they do not fit together. Then I sit there for hours rearranging and become so frustrated I have to get up and leave it for a while. Although some of my collages are clean and simple, it takes a long time to get there. Your biggest influences in life and art? My friends. Our conversations, travels, meals, gatherings together. Their bodies and minds always inspire my photography and my collages.
Your aspirations as an artist? That’s a tough one. I think every artist’s end goal is to create work they’re happy with and they feel epitomises their soul. Who knows if I’ll ever get there. Finally, have you got any messages or words of wisdom for the lovely people reading this? I always held back and said to myself, “no it’s silly to do that”. It’s never silly, just make things when you feel even the slightest urge to open up.