ARTIST OF THE WEEK: EUGENIA LOLIJanuary 20, 2016
From planes dropping candy and cacti-lined underpants to astral planes and giants hoovering beaches, Eugenia Loli’s collage is as surreal as it comes. Having spent her childhood in Greece, she moved to the US to work as tech journalist before turning her hand to collage. Her work, composed from vintage magazines is a blend of the satirical and political and sometimes spiritual. We caught up with Eugenia about lucid dreaming, pop collage and moving on to the next phase in her career…
UO: Can you tell us a little about your story so far?
I was born in Greece, studied computer programming, and then I left for the UK to work in the field. I got married to an amazing French man in 2001 and moved to the US, where I continued working in the tech business, as a tech journalist. However, soon after I arrived, I became ill from an undiagnosed illness. I could not do much for years, and I had kind of given up on life, until I finally found the solution in 2011 (celiac disease). Then, art flourished in me, pretty much within weeks of finding my health. I could think and function straight again. The rest is history.
UO: How do you feel your childhood in Greece has affected who you are as an artist now?
I don’t think it has. Apart from making a series of collages about the ancient Greek gods, modern Greek culture has not influenced my art. Art-wise, I was always more influenced by western pop culture than the bastardized western-eastern Greek one. I hated (and still hate) Greek music, for example. I remember my school mates telling me that “when you grow up a little, and fall in love, you will then understand Greek music”. Well, I grew up, I fell in love, and I still hate Greek music.
Personality-wise, what I got from the Greek culture, which is something that I do treasure, is my ability to tell it like it is, without masks. I just blurt out what I must say, without fear.
UO: What originally attracted you to collage as a medium? What do you love most about working in collage?
I found my health at the end of 2011, and this type of collage we have today (the one I call “pop collage”) became popular with the Tumblr crowd that same year. In other words, collage was the right medium, emerging at the right time for me. What I love in collage is how easily we can build fantastical worlds and let our imagination carry us through.
Weight Loss Wrap
UO: Are there any particular themes that you are repeatedly drawn to in your work?
I used to use a lot of political messages, but that wasn’t too well received by most viewers. Nowadays, I’m more into spiritual themes and a lot of psychedelic underpinnings too. Other artworks have no meaning, not all artworks have to have one.
UO: What do you love about the abstract?
Abstract artworks let you shape them in your mind, the artist does not show what it is, but rather what it could be. The rest of the “image processing” happens in the mind of the viewer. It’s a more shareable experience.
UO: You source a lot of imagery from vintage magazines – what is it about vintage imagery that attracts you?
Vintage imagery means fewer potential copyright problems. It’s a practical choice, not necessarily an artistic one. Having said that, I do like the old style film stock more than the digital look, or even film stock developed after 1980. It just looks less crisp, more like a painting, which is perfect for artistic endeavors.
UO: Can you tell us the ways in which you combine aspects of philosophical thought in your work?
Collage does not let you define every little detail like painting does. For example, Magritte, who surprisingly was firstly a thinker and secondly a painter, used the medium as a way to show his thoughts.
Paintings, since they are developed from scratch, allow for many details to come through, that enlighten an interpretation. With collage, we have to use pre-existing imagery, so any meaning we want to show, would be rough. Because of that, the title of the work is important with collage, and it must always accompany the images.
Spring Crop at the Rosseland Crater
Natural History Museum
UO: How does lucid dreaming aid your art?
A lot of inspiration comes from them. A lot of my hyperspace experiences which is often shown in my psychedelic-like collages, come from such dreams. Other times, art acts as a premonition for lucid dreams. For example my artwork “First Contact with Higher Self” was made just a few hours before I had a lucid dream where I “met” my Higher Self.
First Contact With Higher Self
UO: Where do you want to take your work next?
Illustration. I had too much of collaging so far, I’m getting tired of it. Collage doesn’t allow for too much variation among artists, so it’s difficult to be truly unique with it (not to mention that we all use the same imagery from the same old magazines). I will continue doing collage, but I will probably move to a more interesting, experimental and psychedelic look that is not as popular as my current work. I will probably lose a lot of followers because of that. I don’t really care though, I’ve had it with pop collage. My “easy”, pop work can still live through my illustration though.
It Ends With a Bang