Emory Cooper ’09 is the artist behind Forman School’s holiday card this year. The front of the card features Emory’s collage of a wintery scene on campus.
Emory has a passion for making collages, particularly landscape scenes. She is often taking photos, as she likes to use photographs as the foundation for her collages.
“The Forman [project] was fun because I cut out some actual pictures of the quad to pull it all together,” she says.
After graduating from Keene State College, she moved to Jackson, WY, and found inspiration everywhere.
“I pull a lot of inspiration from my surroundings,” she says. “It’s so incredible out West with all the mountains.” She adds that many of her favorite collages feature the Teton Mountain Range.
Emory uses all recycled magazines for her collages and can sometimes sift through 20-70 different magazines, depending on the size of the piece.
“It also completely depends on the color scheme I am going for,” she says. “Depending on the magazine and the content, I can go through an entire magazine and not find the palette I am going for.”
Emory’s favorite magazine for her collages is the fall edition of Vogue, which has many colorful advertisements.
“It gives me a variety of textures and colors,” she says. “I love that contrast of crazy fashion magazines compared to nature.”
The Forman collage features clippings from fashion magazines, which can be seen throughout. For instance, images of lace and pearls in the bottom left corner make up the snow. Emory says that there are many variables to consider when finding pieces to use from magazines, such as the thickness of the paper, which can change colors when dampened by the glue. Locating the colorful swatches is a lengthy process, but one that she has mastered over the years.
“If I sit down from start to finish, I could do it in eight hours. The size of the Forman [collage] probably took 12 hours in different stages,” she says. “It’s almost like a color by number for me. I loosely sketch before I start, sometimes paint it first to get the background color, and then I rip and tear and place [the clippings]. Almost like an organized chaos.”
Emory assembles her collages with Mod Podge, and unlike most artists, she encourages people to touch the collages and feel the texture that her layering adds to the piece.
She says she was always artistic, and her interest in art grew when she was a student at Forman. “I was fortunate enough to have Sandy Garcia as [an art] teacher at Forman, and I took so many classes with her,” Emory says. “She was so wonderful and encouraging.”
Emory recalls enjoying many of her art projects at Forman and even thinks that it was here where she was first assigned a project to make a collage. She also says the School helped her build the foundation for her work today.
“Forman taught me so much about how our brain works. Everyone’s brains work differently, and that’s sort of where I figured out the color by number part of my brain,” she adds.
Her passion for art, and specifically for collages, took off when she was in college. At Keene State, she was enrolled in the B.F.A. program and focused her thesis project on collages. Her collages were much larger in scale than she produces now, with the largest at 11 feet long. Now, she enjoys making smaller collages and hopes to have the space to make larger pieces again someday soon.
We thank Emory for her sharing her artwork with the Forman community!