June 9, 2015

This week’s featured artist is db Waterman. We had the chance to ask about her process and how she came to create such detailed, layered works.

db Waterman 1

What is your backstory?

My name is db Waterman ( this is my pseudonym ), I am a mixed media artist from the Netherlands. My real name is Ans de Bie and I’m a full time professional artist. About 16 years ago I started making illustrations by using the drawings of my young kids, just because these were so funny and so totally innocent. I edited the drawings, added Indian Ink and watercolor and had these published as screen prints. Pretty soon I wanted to do more than just working with ink and watercolor, so I started to paint with acryl on canvas — a different technique all together. From there, I began my personal quest for my own recognizable style, my own signature. It was a long winding road, learning by trying, never really being content with my achievements.

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How did you find your style?

For a while I just couldn’t afford expensive canvasses and paint, so I had to do with what I had left. But I just had to paint and wanted to create art no matter what. So I looked around for what I had and could use. What I had was many different sorts of paper and an endless number of old photographs, postcards, magazine images and similar stuff. I suddenly remembered that as a young girl I loved to cut images from magazines to paste them into school agendas, scrapbooks and even on my bedroom door. Add to this the fascination I always had for walls filled with old posters, flaking paint, scrappy billboards and weathered paint, it opened an unexpected door for completely new opportunities.

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Completely unintentionally I found a new way of working I felt pleasurably and comfortably at home in. Initially it lacked the one thing that is important to me — the transparency that normally only is possible with the use of watercolor. The unforgiving layering of transparent watercolors is a challenge I would not want to miss and after a lot of trial and error I finally succeeded in getting the collages as transparent as a watercolor. Every layer of paper, oil, acrylic, pencil, crayon, ballpoint, watercolor, ink, charcoal and whatever else I use, remains visible in the artwork.

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What keeps you inspired?

I’m inspired by weathered walls with posters, peeling paint and all kinds of things in dilapidation. From there I start making collages. I try to create something new, something beautiful with pieces I find in old books, magazines and newspapers. The mixed media collages I create are built up with all kinds of pictures, pieces of paper and images that I have collected, combined with drawings, stamping and painting.

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Tell us about your favorite piece(s)? 

An artwork that has a special meaning for me is LIVING IN A HEARTACHE because I have used all the techniques which I control; collage, watercolor, drawing, stamping, acrylic paint, photo. In this artwork, you can clearly see that everything is transparent. The first layers (pencil, watercolor, acrylic splashing) are visible through the photos. I started this artwork with creating a surface by splashing and stamping with watercolor and acrylic paint on thick and smooth paper. Then I made a drawing with pencil on the surface. I glued the pictures out of a magazine over the surface and finally, I have stuck bits of paper here and there inscribed with ballpoint.

You can see more of db Waterman’s intricate collage works in her Crated gallery.

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