For the April 2012 issue of Texas Highways, Lori Moffatt interviewed digital collage artist Sarah Greene Reed about her career path, giant Whataburger mints, and how her obsession with the television show Project Runway informed her art.
“I have had a really zig-zaggy career path,” says Reed, who studied at Sotheby’s Institute of Art in New York after earning her BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design. “I figured out pretty quickly that I was more interested in contemporary art than antiques, but that I liked collecting things. I didn’t stick with antiques, but Sotheby’s gave me an appreciation for objects and their history through different style periods.”
“I like to collect objects. In my collages, I combine high and low-end things. I might combine a pattern from a David Hicks wallpaper [produced by British royal appointment wallpaper maker Cole & Son] with a giant Whataburger mint or a scan from a take-out sushi box.”
“At first, I worked with analog collage,” says Reed, “so I had to work with the size and scale of the actual objects. But once I discovered Photoshop, I could make a swizzle stick 40 inches long, or I could make a peppermint giant. I could bring three- dimensional things into a two-dimensional world. I find what I need formally from objects, but now I can play with color and line, pattern and volume.”
“I’ve created kind of a database of things, so my collages tend to reflect what’s going on in my life at any particular moment. I have scanned most of the stuff in my house. When I was pregnant with my daughter, I did a whole series on candy. I was eating candy all the time and scanning the wrappers and the candy itself. Later I was obsessed with Project Runway, and I scanned a bunch of sewing notions to use in collages. I can’t sew, but I can make collages with sewing materials.”
“My most recent work has been illustrations for children’s books.” (Reed’s collaboration with author Hynden Walch, Ben and Boo: Two Dogs on Mars with Banana Pies, is available at bookstores and online.) “I knew Hynden from high school, and when she told me she was writing a book, she said,’ You have to illustrate it!’ That was really interesting, because in the past, I’d let the objects dictate the collage-and now I had a theme that I had to illustrate with objects and images. So it was reversed.”