We’re delighted to announce that we now offer a limited number of original collages by the wonderfully-talented Maria Rivans. Here, we talk to Maria about her work and her influences, to give you a flavour of the artist behind the pin-ups.
So, how does Maria approach to her work? “My rules of thumb are to make decisions with my heart, create from a place of joy and have fun. My studio is a place where I play with stuff and I can't wait to get in there every day.” she says.
The seed of an idea
I asked Maria where her interest in collage started. “Basically I'd invested in a digital camera when they first came out on the market and went snap happy crazy. I had piles and piles of photographs and didn't really know what to do with them, until I remembered my old fly press I used to use for cutting out metal shapes from when I was a jeweller. I'd sold this piece of equipment to a good friend of mine, so asked to borrow it and began the task of cutting into small circles a thousand photos of skies taken throughout the seasons. Once the circles had been cut, I began to lie them on a board – without realizing it, I'd created my first background using collage. The rest of my work developed from this and I've never looked back.”
Inspirations and idols
With such a distinctive style, it’s clear that Maria maintains an unwavering focus on the major influences over her work. Understanding these influences is like unlocking a door to her mind – a collage itself of the iconic and the wonderful: Mark Ryden, The Brit Art Movement, Hitchcock, Planet of the Apes, Forbidden Planet, Land of the Giants, Marine Boy, Bette Davis, David Hockney, David Bowie, David Sylvian, Max Ernst, Salvador Dali, humour, joy, beauty, love for life, a connectedness to consciousness, Hieronymus Bosch, Jeff Koons, The Singing Ringing Tree, Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons and Tarzan. You can’t read the list without smiling.
It’s that humour that Maria strives, successfully, to inject into her work. “I think it’s clear from my work that I’m probably still a kid at heart. I like to make people laugh, bring happiness to people but hopefully beneath all that you can see a serious side too. I've always been a bit of a comedian but I am pretty good at philosophising and solving life’s problems too.”
The inspiration for the vintage style pin-ups naturally occurred from her influences of technicolor (especially in Hitchcock films), her upbringing watching old movies of the 40's and 50's and her love for the style used in the illustrations, clothes and photography from those same eras.
Piecing it all together
I ask Maria about the collage production process. How do the works evolve? How does she physically piece together the wonderlands and fantasy pin-ups in such meticulous detail?
“I am continually scavenging for materials to use, I can't walk past a second hand shop, charity shop or boot market without having to go in. I love it. It's so exciting when I come across just the right thing to use in a piece.
“All my materials are filed. For instance, I have a box file that just contains images of animals, and those animals are filed into sub-groups like insects, birds, etc. I have to be organised because searching through all the thousands and thousands of images I have collected over the years is the most time consuming part of the process. The perfect image to fit a space within a composition has to be the right size to fit the perspective, face the correct way, tell the right story and be of a certain style and colour.
“I never glue until I am totally convinced and happy with the final composition. I'll often leave the work for a while, put it away for a few days and get it out again to view it with fresh eyes.”
Beyond the collage. What's next?
Fortunately for us, Maria decided to produce some limited edition screenprints of her collages, after seeing demand from people who wanted to buy her work but couldn't afford the large originals. This new medium also pushed her out of her collage comfort zone. “I like to stretch myself. I love learning new things and screen printing has been a pretty huge learning curve.”
So what’s next for Maria? “I've been offered a solo show at Inkd Gallery in Brighton for next year. I'm very excited about this as it's going to be a great challenge. I want to experiment and play around with some ideas that have been brewing which I haven't had the chance to make yet, so look out for my ‘Back to Nature’ show May 2013. Plus, of course, I am forever coming up with new creations for the galleries that represent me. What a job, I consider myself incredibly lucky!”
Want to see how this fantastic artwork will transform your own room? Using our clever 'Changing Room' app, you can upload a photograph of your space to the specifications listed and see your chosen artwork hanging on your very own wall. It's simple! Try before you buy and give it a go...