Seattle-based Artist Presents “Citizen Collage” Workshop at Central New York Center
By Dru Nordmark, student, Central New York Center
January 9, 2013
Dean Nikki Shrimpton and Mentor Yvonne Murphy, of the Central New York Center, hosted “Citizen Collage,” a workshop featuring Seattle-based collage artist, Deborah Faye Lawrence as a guest speaker/teacher. Lawrence also discussed her own mentoring experiences with members of the new Women Mentoring Women pilot program, which was followed by a larger, group collage-making workshop for students, faculty and staff
Lawrence shared her personal account of how she happened into her collage work while studying for her MFA at Claremont Graduate University in California. Connor Evert, a man she considers to be not only mentor, but friend, was a guiding influence in her early years, encouraging her to branch out while trying her hand at collage. Her first teaching job came in tandem with her becoming the artist-in-residence at The Women’s Building in L.A. during the ‘80s where she taught free collage classes.
Before attendees proceeded to create their own collages, Lawrence presented her seven key factors for creating a successful collage: story or emotion, layering, overlapping, juxtaposition, contrast, emphasis and composition. Then, the cutting, tearing and gluing began in earnest. After several hours of uncensored creativity, attendees shared their creations and process with each other. The experience was very rewarding and inspirational, according to participant and student field reporter Dru Nordmark.
To this day, Lawrence tries to instill in her students that everyone is creative in their own way. She said she uses her art to understand and illustrate personal situations such as her recovery from a traumatic brain injury, as well as to share her viewpoint about current events, whether political or social.
ArtRage Gallery in Syracuse currently is hosting a show of Lawrence’s collages titled “Cutting Up Capitalism,” which is her fun way of saying that she “cuts stuff up.” Five collages from Wednesday’s “Citizen Collage” workshop were selected to be displayed in the ArtRage Gallery front windows, along with collages from Syracuse University and Cazenovia College students.