Featuring dreamscape collage artist Tracy Jager of livingferal.
Tell us a bit about yourself:
I live on the wet green coast in Vancouver, Canada. In addition to making collages, I also sometimes draw, sew and take photos. I have a weakness for vintage and antique things, so spend a bit of time cramming my tiny home with treasures and occasionally selling them in my online vintage shops. The rest of the day I cook lots, eat frequently, take naps and dream excessively, and hang out with my animal friends.
When did you know that art was your thing?
Since I was young I liked making pictures, but didn’t have a lot of confidence in doing it. Also, I first wanted to be an actress or a writer. After a brief stint working in live theatre and at some other interesting jobs, I ended up as a communications consultant and writer, mostly in healthcare and health sciences. A lot of my co-workers told me I was visually talented and encouraged me to go to art school, and that gave me to the courage to do a fine arts program at Langara College while doing freelance work. I then went on to complete a BFA in Visual Art at the Emily Carr Institute of Art & Design (now University).
Tell us some of the process into making collage.
Lots and lots of cutting! I flip through stacks of the hundreds of vintage books and magazines I have, and cut out images that appeal to me…regardless of whether I have a particular use for them at the time. The act of cutting for long periods puts me in what you could call a trance or dream-like state, where my mind can make associations it might not if tasked with thinking logically. Sometimes I’ll just cut images for days at a time, and then suddenly a flood of scenes and stories will come together. Then there will be the long process of pasting them up, scanning them, and figuring out just the right title (which can sometimes come quickly, or sometimes take weeks!)
What’s your favorite part of the art making process?
The way, when I actually get right into the process, that time seems suspended. I get there sometimes when I’m drawing or sewing, but it happens most when I make collage. It’s a sensation of being totally present in the moment but also outside time.
What inspires you to create?
Well, often my work influenced by things I’ve read or think about…philosophy and poetry and psychology, for instance. I’m particularly interested in humans’ relationship with animals and the environment, and that factors into my pieces.
As for what inspires me though…besides the feeling and experience I get when actually making something, it seems to me that creating art is one of the best things humans can do. I always loved reading when I was young, and books helped me experience the world through others’ eyes and thoughts. A beautiful painting can evoke a feeling of awe. Any piece of art carries with it a sense of its creator, and I believe this sharing contributes to empathy and compassion.
What’s the most rewarding thing about sharing your art with the world?
While I’m an introvert with hermit tendencies, I do have ongoing health issues that make it challenging to be outside my home for extended periods of time. I love solitude, but I can end up feeling isolated. Through sharing my art online, I’ve met many wonderful and talented people – like you Sarah! Thanks for asking me to be a part of your Features series.
Collages on Etsy: www.livingferal.etsy.com
Drawings & sewn things: www.raccooncatcreations.etsy.com
Thank you so much Tracy, long time admirer of your work.