Featured Artist Jodi Bee

Artist Jodi Bee sources materials from used books to make intricate collages featuring symbolic and cultural  images. See more of her portfolio by visiting her website.

 

"Dragon Gate" Collage, 32" x 32" by artist Jodi Bee. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Dragon Gate” Collage, 32″ x 32″

 

By nature, I am a curious person, driven to explore new experiences, both in life and in art. My first job was in a library—I’ve always loved books and celebrated learning as a means to stimulate my creativity. The way I love books now is in their destruction, parsing images contained therein to say something that is transformative to their origin and original context.

 

"Green Treasure" Collage, 32" x 32" by artist Jodi Bee. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Green Treasure” Collage, 32″ x 32″

 

So, like a phoenix from the ashes, my hand-cut collage work rises from (almost always secondhand, nonfiction) books I use to research my current fascinations.

 

"The Ancestors" Collage, 32" x 32" by artist Jodi Bee. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“The Ancestors” Collage, 32″ x 32″

 

I initially spend hours flipping through books when selecting those to purchase. My interest in the subject matter, the size of images, color pictures preferred over the black and white, all play a role in determining if I think there is enough value to buy each book. Once I get them home, I make some coffee, curl up on the couch, and slow down to scanning a page at a time, reading captions and sections of text, ripping out pages with images that carry a visual punch.

 

"The Feminine Mystique" Collage, 32" x 32" by artist Jodi Bee. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“The Feminine Mystique” Collage, 32″ x 32″

 

Then, I go through the pages I ripped from the spine of each book, trimming down the images that feel most useful to their contours with small scissors.

 

"Banish Misfortune" Collage, 32" x 32" by artist Jodi Bee. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Banish Misfortune” Collage, 32″ x 32″

 

Sometimes, I leave captions attached to remind me of their initial context or important information, other times, I want to forget all that and use the pictures more intuitively to build a collage image. Those trimmings are organized away in file cabinets separated by subject matter. Sometimes, as with images I frequently include in my compositions, such as flowers, gemstones, and nebulas, they are further divided into groups by color spectrum.

 

"Water" (Collaboration with Blake Conroy) Collage, 32" x 32" by artist Jodi Bee. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Water” (Collaboration with Blake Conroy) Collage, 32″ x 32″

 

This approach has led to quite a vast collection of source imagery, ready to be included in whatever bright idea I want to explore next. I’ve been trimming images in this fashion for three years in my leisure time, in an almost absentminded way, as others might crochet a scarf, or doodle. I listen to music and podcasts as I go.

 

"Fire" (Collaboration with Blake Conroy) Collage, 32" x 32" by artist Jodi Bee. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Fire” (Collaboration with Blake Conroy) Collage, 32″ x 32″

 

When I am in this part of the process, I keep paper and a pen next to me, in case my mind reveals some insight perhaps into a collage I wish to construct. I jot down words, phrases, and thumbnail sketches of ideas while they are leaping out of my subconscious for a brief, catchable moment.

 

"Magic Hands" Collage, 32" x 32"by artist Jodi Bee. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Magic Hands” Collage, 32″ x 32″

 

Later, the notations are entertained into a more thoroughly thought through inspiration for a piece. Even a task that would be helpful to complete the image is examined for its merit. I make notes of my dreams in this way upon waking, as well as free-floating thoughts I notice through meditation.

 

Untitled (Collaboration with David Biljan" Collage, 32" x 32" by artist Jodi Bee. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Untitled” (Collaboration with David Biljan) Collage, 32″ x 32″

 

When I have a cohesive idea, I trim a black substrate to desired size (generally 32” square) and pull the relevant files. Guidelines are penciled on the board to maintain symmetry and balance integrity. I experiment with the pieces like a puzzle, feeling out arrangements and familiarizing myself with the fragments, trimming further into them, sometimes making holes that will later reveal a deeper layer peeking through.

 

"Silver Treasure" Collage, 32" x 32" by artist Jodi Bee. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Silver Treasure” Collage, 32″ x 32″

 

When a final base arrangement has reached harmony, I glue the specimens down, and after that layer hardens, I add the smaller components, weaving them under and over the edges and corners of the base layer. Sometimes I use metal leafing, ink or paint washes or outlines after the positioning of the paper is complete. The completed piece is sprayed with multiple coats of varnish, and preferably put under glass in a frame to protect the surface of each piece.

 

Artist Jodi Bee invites you to follow her on Instagram and Facebook.

 

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