Melody Thomasson lives in Berlin. She is a collage artist who only uses paper, scissors and glue.
Where do you find your materials?
“I’m not very good at Photoshop and not particularly keen on doing digital collages. The idea of ‘no turning back’ is what attracts me: once it’s cut and glued you can’t press Ctrl+Z. I find most of my materials in magazines: contemporary and vintage ones from the 60’s, and even those discount leaflets everybody hates. Finally, I’m also a big fan of ‘street treasures’. I just can’t walk down the street without checking out all the lost books and magazines here in the streets of Berlin!
Did you choose your medium on purpose?
Not really. Once, I stayed at my dads place for a while, during a period of recovery after a jaw surgery. I wasn’t able to speak or to express myself, which was frustrating and very boring! That’s why I gave myself the mission to tidy my dad’s basement, where I found a bunch of old 50’s / 60’s magazines. Amazed by this discovery, I first read some of their articles and started to learn more about our society at that time. Did you know that all of these articles were actually dedicated to women and aimed to “teach” them stuff? For example: how women should dress, raise their kids or even talk to their husband! It led me to question myself about today`s society and it became my number one topic of inspiration.
What about the pages you don’t use – do you throw them away?
I learnt that every magazine, every page and every little picture can – from one day to the next – become a big treasure. That’s why I’m gentle with them and never get rid of anything. It has happened before that I finally used an image after saving it for 3 years. You never know, one day a picture may make sense in a composition. I also learnt that collage (and creativity in general) is the best therapist!
A final word of advice maybe?
As my practice is very cathartic, I’d just recommend everybody to start with a question in mind. Not an idea, but just a view, a feeling they would like to express. Never try to make it look good, never try to imitate. Keep your process intimate and simple. Choose the materials which “speak to you”, cut and glue them the way you want. In the end, the paper will speak for you. Maybe about the thing you had in mind, or maybe even about something else… in any case: you’ll feel so much lighter once the collage is done!