This Artist Shows the Potential of Experimental Paper Collage

Despite the increasing popularity of collage as a medium, Scotland-based artist Lola Dupre’s on-going series Charlie, boasts a distinct heartfelt feeling, unique to her work. Inspired by her own cat – each set can take up to 25 hours to produce – the collages made using only scissors, glue, paper – and a lot of trial and error.

We talked with Lola about her inspiration for the series, her artistic process and her personal connection with Charlie that the portraits manage to  communicate so impressively. 

THE PLUS: Tell us a bit more about yourself; and when did you first know you wanted to be an artist?

Lola Dupre: I always wanted to create things. I am fascinated by science and science fiction, physics, quantum physics, biology, archaeology, mathematics, technology, and the evolution of humanity. But, yes I also make collage portraits of cats and dogs, especially my cat Charlie!

TP: What inspired the style of your collages?

LD: Jean-Paul Goude, Dora Kallmus, David Hockney, are the main artists’ whose work I was influenced by when I was younger. I also used to work with paper-mache which led me to collaging. Originally, my collages began with just a few bits of cut paper, then tens of pieces and now they usually consist of hundreds of cut bits of paper.

TP: How does your Charlie series differ from your other work?

LD: I think there is a warmth and familiarity from my relationship with Charlie that is transferred through the portraits. Although, Charlie is often quite unfriendly and unpredictable. I have had many scratches, a few bites, and many many nasty looks. We adopted him when he was 8 years old and we do not know his history.

TP: What is your process when making the collages? 

LD: I just start moving things around and sticking things down pretty quickly, I have many pictures in my head and only a limited time to work so I never pause really.

TP: How does digital art influence or inform your process?

LD: Although I am drawing inspiration from everything around me all the time, this is especially true for my digital surroundings. I use GIMP for some colour correction in my final photos, so I am familiar with some digital photo editing tools, many have their paper equivalent really, you can see the icons like scissors, paste, etc. Digital or not, it is the same thing really.

TP: What materials do you like to work with and have you found limitations with any?

LD: I only really work with paper, scissors and glue. I find them very expressive and easy to use. You can always peel away layers and rework areas, or cover areas over with more paper. It is like a digital process in some strange way for me.

TP: How do you feel when you are creating new artwork?

LD: When I am working I feel relaxed and peaceful, I like to listen to podcasts and interviews, as I’m always trying to learn new things. Right now I am listening to Lex Friedman’s interview series. So much meaningful information! Charlie also seems to listen along, one little ear twitching away.

TP: Is there any subject or medium you would like to work with in the future?

LD: I would like to make more portraits of Charlie; working more with the background, or transporting him into new locations and scenarios. I find people are really drawn to my animal portraits, and it is rewarding for me to make them laugh and smile. So I will continue with this for the time being. I think the future after that will take care of itself.