Tell us about your brand the Collage Garage. What inspired you to start it in the first place?
I started collaging when I was 5 and have been putting my energy into it since then. Throughout my college, I used collaging as an outlet for my emotions. At first, it was my friends who noticed various collages I created in my apartment. At first, I created collages for them, but at the same time this was not the only thing I was drawn to. Psychologically and aesthetically, mostly I felt this urge to create more and more collages, thus throwing it all in one big picture.
On one random day, I found an incredible printer at the law firm I used to work at. I took out several prints for my collages everyday, which brought me to the realization that collaging was my passion as it helped me to ground myself and those around me. People don’t usually pursue collaging since it something very uncommon. I find collaging equivalent to doing meditation. It helps me understand my thoughts more, especially when they are all over the place.
We would love to know about the services you offer. In detail, tell us about your products and services.
I offer custom collages and also work with many reputed gallaries. Clients hire me to create a commission for a loved one filled with meaningful things to them such as; special dates, locations, inside jokes, etc. These collages tend to become archival tributes to the recipient, which makes for such a special and thoughtful gift. Working digitally is also one aspect of my business. Most of these pieces turn out to be covers for albums. I’ve worked with several musicians including Idan Raichel, something I’ve very proud of. His covers were both created and photographed by me.
Every artist has a unique creative process. What steps do you follow to create the product of your dreams?
My process is majorly about seeking and gathering. I spend days searching for small magazine clippings, before I’m ready to get started. Next, I cut everything out with the same scissors I’ve used for the past 10 years. The third step is almost like laying down wallpaper in several pieces, I adhere the pieces to a wood panel, while focusing on juxtaposition and balance. I hardly ever know when the piece is complete, but eventually, something just clicks and I feel like “ok, I’m ready to share this with the world now”. The last step is to coat it with high-gloss resin. I learned this via YouTube and it has taken years for me to nail it. This just adds a layer of sophistication to my otherwise very raw creations.
Every creative entrepreneur goes through highs and lows in their journey. What helped you in overcoming challenges?
I’ve had many highs and lows in my career as in my life. Luckily, nothing ever made me lose faith. It's a very tough pill to swallow when someone speaks negatively about my art because they are essentially all large pieces of me, but art is subjective and that’s hugely important to keep in mind.
It’s all about the journey at the end of the day and that has shaped my life and art as a whole. Looking back, I feel such a sense of pride for how much I have overcome to arrive at this point in my career. Many people around me pursued traditional avenues of work and life which did not resonated with me so I took a sharp turn and walked in the opposite direction.
Of course, it was difficult and I felt challenged at times. I stayed in D.C. for some time after everyone left, then lived in Austin, Texas where I was essentially alone and without any connections. Yet, I pushed on and found a small workhouse where I shared my work, and trust me, it was far from glamorous, but it was this moment that I am most proud of. I threw caution to the wind and pursued what truly made me happy. Only a few years later, after my art started to fill the walls of hotels and restaurants in the area, I found myself driving to Florida in a minivan filled with art to start my next journey. Miami has been all that I had hoped for and more. However, for every moment of success, I never forget the countless failures, empty shows, and doubt that surrounded my early career. In the end, it is those moments that have allowed me to persevere despite the challenges and I am forever grateful.
What else can we see coming from your creative mind this year? Where can our readers reach out to you?
I am currently speaking with a client about creating my first mural, which has been a huge goal for me. My brand is constantly evolving and now stands in a powerful place. Over the years, I have evolved so much as an artist and person. My brand represents all forms of expression immersed in pop culture. I have found that you can inspire change and promote independence while still creating joy through collage and that is what I continue to strive to create with all of my viewers.
Readers can reach out to me via my Instagram @katyilana, my website collage-garage.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org