The early twentieth century was a tumultuous period of world history. To say the least.
For starters, it was host to the birth of the collage as an artistic concept and medium. And its ability to boldly integrate physical materials, even those not traditionally associated with artworks up until that point, revolutionized modern art.
It also witnessed the birth of the first International Women’s Day, celebrated in 1911, made possible in part by the burgeoning socialist movements that sought to unify the working class, turning a blind eye to gender. As a political and economic theory, socialism’s rejection of traditional, subordinating stereotypes towards women revolutionized gender politics of the time.
While Women’s Day’s socialist roots appear to have simmered down to some extent and the collage no longer holds quite the revolutionary potential it once did (nothing shocks the art world anymore), focusing on ways in which these two worlds collide seems appropriate, especially as over the 20th century, Women’s Day has often been associated with powerful imagery (found in the hundreds of now highly coveted graphic posters that remain).
This is why, today, we’re looking at both in the work of Véronique Klotz (@veroklo).
Klotz is an artist based in France, whose style is characterized by a punky patchwork of physical materials and digital edits. Much of her higher education has been devoted to studying art and, while it is not her profession per se, it is a passionate hobby. The quietly fierce energy of her collages, often featuring compelling depictions of women, has earned her an impressive following on PicsArt over the last several years. Klotz revealed in an interview that she is drawn to collage as an artistic medium for the abstraction it brings to her drawings and paintings. “The drawings,” she says, “turn into something completely new with the help of the layers.”
Within the physical realm, Klotz makes frequent use of newspaper clippings, colored paper, old mathematics worksheets, and photographs, which form pieces of the backdrop to a choppily cut photograph or a delicate, hand-drawn illustration.
She also experiments a great deal within the digital realm, and her digital edits are equally compelling. “Digital collages are a way to create imaginary works with photos or elements of textures that we dispose of. Collages provide endless possibilities for unique creations.”
When her subject matter isn’t women, she tends to experiment with an element of surrealism by placing animals in unexpected contexts, as in the image below, which she says is one of the first images she created on PicsArt, and also her favorite.
It was inspired by handmade paper collages that have cut elements glued on flat areas without the perspective effect. This collage can be viewed as a celebration of nature or a desire to return to basics. In fact, everyone can choose to interpret the work differently, depending on their perspective.
But don’t mistake the rebellious aesthetic that guide’s Klotz’s works for carelessness. Each piece in her gallery is meticulously arranged and the immense attention to detail is evident in the YouTube videos she posts alongside some of her images.
The videos are an effort to document her creative process and also allow (and invite) anyone so inclined to follow along. For Klotz, it’s clear, creating art is all about collaboration and communication. That’s why we recently asked her to collaborate with us to create an image that would speak louder than words on this Women’s Day.
Titled, “The Fight of Our Mothers and Grandmothers,” the above photograph of a collage she created, Klotz makes an undisguised allusion to the women’s suffrage movement, including hand-drawn suffragettes at the bottom of the composition. The lack of detail, Klotz confirms, is intentional, as she hoped to reference the journalistic photographs of women suffragettes that survive from this time. Part of the image’s backdrop, which also forms the blouse donned by the illustrated young woman, is a section of text, which Klotz says is not an arbitrary selection. It’s from an Italian book called “I Wanted Pants,” “about a Sicilian girl in the eighties who would like to fight against macho traditions.” The piece, she says, is dedicated to the fight of our mothers and grandmothers.
Klotz’s advice for aspiring collage makers?
Play with your images, discover the numerous possibilities and tools that PicsArt offers, and make personalized pieces.
That’s why today, we’d like you to speak up and speak out, but try to let your images do the talking. Create a collage that will say everything you want it to this Women’s Day and share with the hashtag #WomensDay.