Scotland, is far and widely known as the home of the Edinburgh Fringe and an abundance of cultural finds and Medieval architectural wonders. It is also home to one Lola Dupre, a unique find in the visual landscape, as her approach to art is one of dissecting and reactualizing photographic works into a precisely placed mosaic of inspired and humorous effects. Dupre chose the allure of European travel and opted into live studio time in lieu of traditional university art life, and found herself inspired to pursue her passion for creating on her own terms. Join us as we take an exclusive look at her masterfully crafted collage paper works as well as a bit of insight into her Glasgow, Scotland studio workings.
HF correspondent Nathan Spoor reports:
Greetings and thanks for taking time out to talk to us! We’re fascinated by these painstaking works you’ve been creating in your studio there in Scotland. When did you begin as a collage artist, did you attend a university for studio art, and is this a main focus for you in life at this point?
I have always been fascinated with the art of collage. I think this began when I was a child playing obsessively with fuzzy felt. I also spent a long time cutting up my mothers fashion magazines and admiring the framed Hannah Hoch’s hanging on the living room wall. I did not attend art school, mainly because I didn’t want to. I studied architecture briefly, which has influenced my work in the sense of how I build up the structure of the images in my work. I had a lot of friends who studied fine art. And even though it was a life building experience for them, actually a lot of them do not even make art anymore – and I think this speaks a lot for the way that institutions can dampen the desire to create.
I spent what would have been my university years traveling in Europe and working in different art studios. This for me was the education that I needed and that has helped me formulate the ideas that my work stems from today.
My work is my main focus, I spend a lot of time in the studio and I happily see it as my 9-5 job.
From the looks of things, this work must involve several images that need to be dissected and then reformed before fixing the pieces to your surface there. How much prep goes into creating one of these images?
Well, first an image for manipulation has to be selected and sometimes this is what takes most of my time. Going into a project I often have a very fixed idea of what I want to work with: finding the image with the right background, foreground, resolution, and content can take all day sometimes! I usually search Google images for sources, or alternatively I scan images that myself or my contacts have.
When I have selected the right image to use, I crop and print this at various sizes and edits on various sizes of paper. Working like this, the only limitation is the resolution of the source image. I am currently planning to do some giant paste up art works on buildings and walls, and this requires just the same formula but slightly tweaked.
It’s curious that you would choose such a time consuming and unique application of this photo mosaic work. Why this rather than something more traditional such as painting or drawing?
I have been working with photomontage for quite some years now. Originally I would cut up perhaps two or three images or work from a small handful of duplicates. But with time my technique has developed and now I need more! This is just technique development – like how a young painter might begin work with just a few colours of poster paints and one large brush, and years later they are working with multiple colours and honed techniques to blend and create with all the experiences they have learned through practice and exploring their medium.
For me, I take a certain delight in the ready-made colour schemes and the detail of the images I work from. And now this is what I do best.
There seems to be a good bit of humor in your work. Does your personality or lifestyle enjoy a good laugh or freewheeling element to the day?
I find humour to be an important aspect of my work, especially when working with an image that is already very well known. The resulting manipulated image has an almost automatic sense of humour to it.
When I work on an image, the result is almost like a circus freak or a clown’s make-up: a distorted version of reality where the reality is still visible. This creates, in my opinion, either humour or horror. I am happy to express and elicit both, as this is a reflection of the reality of our lives and something we should talk about.
When you feel like being inspired, where do you go? What refuels your creative or personal energies?
Inspiration is everywhere. Maybe I am lucky in that I do not feel I need to look far for inspiration. For example, in my studio there are other artists of interest to me who inspire me. In the past when I have approached my work with the most joy and inspiration it has been when I have had the opportunity to collaborate on editorial material with photographers such as Madame Peripetie and Kristiina Wilson. I am about to begin new projects with other photographers and this always delights me, as someone else must examine my work and then be inspired to produce work for me. I want to do much more of this. I want to hear from photographers across the world who want to work with me on projects. I also want to begin collaging the work of painters and graphic artists as I recently did with an old painting by Giovanni Francesco. Collaborating with other artists in various mediums is very inspiring, and my main goal for future work. In my personal life, love, anticipation and the joy of new experience fuel my motivation.
What is the art scene like in Scotland? Do you travel to art shows or to see galleries and exhibitions?
I think the art scene in Scotland is great – keeping in mind this is a small country often overshadowed by England and more importantly, the glare of London.
Edinburgh has an international reputation boosted by the festivals and events that occur there. However, Glasgow on the other hand, while being rarely visited by outsiders, in my opinion hosts a much more vibrant art scene. There are numerous studios here, several of which have been described as the most influential in the UK. Rent is cheap and this sometimes bewilderingly violent city is a magnet for creatives. Many leave once they have found their feet, tempted away by bright lights and higher industry representation in other cities. But many remain, toiling in dank spaces across the city, producing amazing work and thriving in the community. There are many over and underground events taking place throughout the city. Creative groups and individuals provide a constant flow of stimuli throughout the city so often they cannot all be visited and experienced.
There seem to be some imaginative possibilities to your talents and current works. Where do you think you will evolve to, or what do you want to do with your work in the future?
I want to do more illustration, commercial work and advertising. I am happy to sell my work as art, but I see myself more as an illustrator. I want to illustrate books for adults and children, this market and audience is the most interesting I think. To associate your graphic work to creative scripts is a kind of pinnacle. I believe there is a future in what I do, in a way the future is so blurred by political and economic vagaries. It is impossible to speculate the future, but I try! In the future, I simply hope I am still producing work.