Artist Gina Torkos presents a group of nature-inspired collages with fascinating detail and texture. View more of her work by visiting her website.
Sometimes in life, your head leads you into a career when your heart has something entirely different in mind. My heart was singing out loud when I was approached to create art materials for two of my Speech Pathology professors in grad school.
I spent my days as a speech therapist and my nights in art classes. My perseverance paid off and I was able to make a career transition to a full-time artist.
I took every art class I could find, learning the fundamentals of art and getting experience with different mediums. I focused on oil painting for several years and really fell in love with it.
At the same time, I was writing in my “morning pages” (thank you Julia Cameron), and collaging with quotes and simple images in a scrap book. These three activities finally converged into an art journal that I painted, collaged, and wrote in.
I ultimately found what got me out of bed at the wee hours of the morning, excited to start creating. That was collage. The full scale, fine art collages I now produce are the culmination of years of playing around with collage exercises, which I still practice to this day.
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I love the process of making a collage and have developed a unique style. My collages are representational. In each one, I’ve used the freedom to create from my imagination. From afar they look like paintings, but when you get closer, you will be surprised by what you see.
With my passion for travel and photography, I have a plethora of photos to use as reference for my subject matter and for elements in the collages. Once I have my subject dialed in, I do a detailed sketch on canvas; sometimes this evolves into grisaille to ensure I get the values right.
Next is the challenging process of sorting through magazines searching for values, textures, patterns, words and phrases. I place them on the canvas and transform hundreds of disparate scraps into a cohesive image.
I don’t have many rules since I like to experiment, but one is sacred—not using an image of the thing I am creating (no branches in that bird nest).
Collage forces me to go beyond logical thinking and truly use my imagination. For me, it’s the most creative, fun and intuitive form of artistic expression I have found.
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