Senior Maeve Mindell’s journey with collage art is one ultimately fueled by spite.
“I had a teacher in high school and I made a collage and I was so proud of it and she said it wasn’t quality work and she didn’t put it in an art show,” Mindell said. “I was like, ‘One day people are going to love my art and I’m going to keep doing it. You are not going to stop me.’ By senior year of high school I was making really cool stuff and she would probably kill to have it in her art show.”
Her initial introduction to collage art in elementary school followed a similar path. After being given an assignment to create a collage in the fifth grade, Mindell — who originally thought that she would find the assignment boring — went home and created something she was proud of with her dad. After turning it in, her teacher didn’t put it somewhere where people could see it which made Mindell believe it was bad.
That inspired Mindell to want to continue with collage art so that she could create something worth displaying and she has kept the desire to continue working with it since.
For Mindell, collage was so appealing because of the control it allowed her with the final product. She found that with drawing it often didn’t come out like she imagined it would and this medium allowed her to avoid that by using found imagery and having the ability to rearrange everything.
Though the ease with the materials is something she values, Mindell is aware that it is hard to sometimes connect to images she did not physically produce.
“As much as I love having the material in front of me, it’s not something that I vomited out onto the page and that is a lot more cathartic. So that’s why I’ve been trying more drawing. It’s so hard and it’s very frustrating, but in the end I’m like ‘I did that! My hand did that!’” she said.
Many of her artworks are fueled by her personal beliefs and feelings on a topic. Mindell said that as of recently a lot of her work centers around feminism, though something she values about her work is the fact that the meaning is not always obvious at first glance.
“For me specifically, a lot of collage is you look at it and you’re not going to get the meaning right away a lot of the time. I can make a collage that doesn’t look like it’s about feminism but it’s totally is. It’s kind of cool to have an exterior and an interior,” she said.
While not an art major, Mindell has still found ways for her creative writing major to connect to and inspire the work she does with collage.
One of the things she values the most about collage work is the ability to fuel a work with words and the direction they can give it. Her process in creating the works starts with the words she finds and the creation of sentences from which she is able to find meaning which sometimes takes her in unexpected, yet rewarding, directions. Something she also frequently does is create narratives for characters through her work and write stories inspired by them.
Though she has found ways to integrate these many aspects of her life, Mindell recognizes that her art and writing will always stay as hobbies.
“I don’t do it for a grade or profit. I don’t find that to be interesting or fun or enjoyable in any sense of the word. I do it because I feel like it,” she said.