Delightfully quirky, with just enough of a retro vibe to make you nostalgic, Ariel Kohn’s collages show us all that there are still cooler-than-most things coming out of Brooklyn, NY. The young artist looks at the same things we do — magazines, newspapers, ads — the key differentiator being that Ariel, rather than thumb past them, extracts these images from their native context and places them into new ones. The final result: equal parts surrealism and vintage distopia collages and the title of this week’s Artist You Need to Know.
A: I love all of the steps of the lengthy process. I spend hours searching for inspiring or eye catching images, take time to sort through my own thoughts and conceptualizations, and combining all of the elements to make the finished Product.
Where to you cut all of your images and materials from?
A: I collect most of my images from vintage and new national geographic magazines. I love going to little used book shops to find unique hidden gems. My favorite images to work with are probably those taken from 50s and 60s women’s lifestyle magazines. I love that it helps me gain insight into the evolution of American culture and history.
When did you start making art and what compelled you to do so?
A: I have been making art for as long as I can remember. As a kid, I would cut up different materials and put them together to create furniture or backgrounds for my dolls. I always chose books about illustration when I was in the library. In high school, I gravitated towards collage as a means of expressing all of the emotions I couldn’t wrap my head around.
We love your use of different patterns and textures, what inspiration do you draw from fashion?
A: I have a huge appreciation for art of any form, including textiles and fashion, but I’m actually pretty simple with my own style. The patterns I incorporate in to my pieces are usually being used to create a specific mood, or to express appreciation for some sort of tradition or cultural trend.
Your compositions are quirky and unexpected in the best way possible, where do these surreal ideas come from?
A: The pieces that have a surreal vibe are mostly expressions of my favorite literature, films, songs and philosophy. I often draw inspiration from random dreams and nostalgic moments. I’m a huge fan of existential novels, sci-fi stories and avant garde films.
Who are you outside of art?
A: Outside of collage, I love writing, working with kids, and spending as much time as possible in nature. I’m always listening to music, reading or studying film.
A: I guess I want people to know that I care just as much about their artistic experience as the audience as I do about my personal fulfillment. I hope people can internalize and analyze my work and gain something from it.
Ariel is on the rise. Watch out for her new work and get notified when she has new pieces for sale.