Katy Hirschfeld is an up-and-coming collage artist whose work has been called a “retro-chic” commentary on modern issues. Hirschfeld has been featured in publications like Jewcy, Label 55, Imperial Eloquence and The Artist Catalogue. Her work at first glance is stunning, and on further inspection is riddled with wittiness, satire, and emotion – which makes the first impression, a lasting one. Keep reading for the full interview Katy did with Wall Hop.
Tell us a little bit about yourself
I am 27, my studio is in Pump Project Art Complex on the “East Side” of Austin, Texas. I am in love with running and I have at least 300 magazines at any given moment. I have been using the same scissors for 6 years and I have a minor freak out every time I can’t find them. I am obsessed with Nirvana and I love the color yellow. I think I am the postergirl for Scorpios as well.
You moved from Washington to Austin for a more positive environment – how has Austin been treating you – was it a good move?
I was in a pretty bad place in DC. I wanted to move somewhere I had never been and where I knew no one. I basically decided to start over and I had been hearing a lot about Austin and thought it was pretty cosmic to just move there. But it definitely was a leap of faith. It was the most defining decision of my life and changed everything for the better. I also say that Austin is the kindest city. The city itself, in addition to the people, have treated me really well. It’s a very laid back and easy lifestyle but I am moving this summer to jump start my career in Miami.
How does the art scene is Austin compare to DC?
The art scene is Austin is a lot more friendly and helpful where as DC was a bit competitive.
You mention that your collages are a reflection of your life experiences – is there an overlying theme?
They are all very subconscious but I believe there is an overlying theme of strong, independent women. (sometimes men). and there is a bit of passive aggressive sarcasm in each of them… either making fun of myself or society or some movie I had watched that week.
As of last year my collages were like an ode to finding and gaining my individuality. There is a piece that basically got me over the most dysfunctional relationship. You can see by the writing it was a very unhealthy/toxic relationship. The day I finished the piece I also quit smoking- cold turkey. It was a very therapeutic piece for me. (see the piece below)
You mention that your work challenges what the viewer sees vs. what the viewer feels. Can you elaborate on this? What are some experiences or reviews some of your collectors or viewers have said about this?
I think viewers see a pretty girl but they feel a deeper more complex nature than that. There are several different eyes within one eye and there are hundreds of small pieces making up the overall subject. They definitely feel there is more to these women than just a pretty face.
I’ve got to ask – why collage? What does it do for you that other mediums and materials don’t?
I have always been drawn to pictures and learned how to collage when I was 5. It was something I was never able to grow out of. I would make vision boards/collages through high school and college. Also, I never was the greatest painter or drawer. It’s kind of ironic. I took basic 2D drawing this year at a local school and when asked why, I said “Well I’m a professional artist who cant draw.”
Tell us about your creative process from conception to completion – what does this look like for you?
Its a lot of seeking and gathering. I love going through magazines and tearing things up. When I finally find one image (usually a face) everything grows from there. I have a box of all small pieces that would look good around eyes and the same for hair. When I am finally satisfied I usually go over it with a high gloss resin. One of the hardest challenges I’ve faced as well was learning this technique and perfecting it.
What have been some of your proudest moments as an artist? What are some of the most challenging?
My proudest moment was very recently showing my work at Art Fusion Galleries in Wynwood. It was my goal to show my work in Wynwood in 2015 and this happened very quickly. Other than that, I sold 16 pieces of art in 4 days during the East Austin Studio Tour. I have challenges dealing with the business side of things. I also struggle when I am doing commissions since they arent exactly coming from within me it is really hard for me to tackle them.
How would you define your style?
I would definitely define it as imperfect pop-art meets retro grunge.
Who are some of your favourite artists?
I love Warhol and Basquiat. I also love Derek Gores, Man Ray, and Dash Snow.
What can your fans expect to see from you next?
Fans can expect my work to get larger. I am working on enlargements so that I am not limited to the sizes of magazines. I am also trying to get into wheat-paste and possibly street art.
Any parting thoughts?
I guess I’d leave it off saying that I have been through a bunch of trials and tribulations and relationships / jobs and where I am right now is exactly where I am meant to be. So I wouldn’t do a single thing differently. I am eternally grateful to the universe for allowing me the level of happiness I have today, in my art as well as my life.
Check out more of Katy Hirschfeld’s artwork on her website & follow her on Faceboook, Twitter & Instagram
Interviewer: Rob Green