September 25, 2023
Portland-based artist Alexis Hilliard describes her collages as “visual symphonies,” blending numerous photographs and archival materials to create harmonious compositions. “Sometimes I use whole photos, not cut up much. That’s like sampling a bass line,” she tells Colossal. “Other times, I’m only using a tiny color swatch, so that’s more like adding a simple note into the mix.”
An avid collector of images, Hilliard scours everything from historical archives to oil paintings to Pinterest boards, amassing a collection of tens of thousands that span a wide variety of themes and content. And she is also drawn to working in a variety of scales. “When I first started, I worked a lot with WWI and WWII photos, but the collage technique itself quickly became the point…There is something to making large art pieces, the ones that surround your peripheral sight and evoke the sublime,” she says.
Hilliard explores a range of themes that tie together history, the volatility of nature, grandiosity, vulnerability, and more. She often emphasizes focal point, like running stags or a silhouetted couple seated on a bench, in the foreground of vast and dramatic landscapes. “I’m not the best at perspective… but that also gives me the shameless ability to add 8 vanishing points with reckless abandon,” she says. “It’s a fun way to play with perceived rules and break away from expectations—even your own.”
Hilliard documents much of her process, which you can find on Instagram.
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