August 18, 2016

We talk to Montana-based artist and graphic designer Sarah Eisenlohr about her whimsical, vintage-style collages and what inspires them.

UO: How did you get into art and graphics?

I’ve always had an interest in art but didn’t start experimenting with various media until going to college for Fine Arts. After graduating, I went back to school for Graphic Design, not really knowing what it was, but hopeful that I could find a full time job afterwards. I just graduated and it’s been super fun to take client work that combines both collage and graphic design.

UO: What made you decide to use collage as your medium of choice?

I was taking a class in college called “Mapping,” which incorporated art media and maps together. We had to create a series for our final project and I had wanted to try out collage, so I made a few pieces involving how humans can impact our landscape or “remap” its appearance. These ended up being the beginnings to my first collage series, Mapping. Afterwards, I became obsessed with collaging.

UO: What are your essentials for sitting down and being productive?

The most inspirational time for me is the morning. It’s quiet, I can sip on coffee and the sun creates beautiful lighting through the windows– I can’t help but be inspired.

UO: You live in Montana; does your location have an impact on you creatively?

Totally! It’s a really beautiful place and the seasons are always creating a new look to appreciate. The city where I currently live is a ski town, so it’s surrounded by such diverse mountain ranges—I love the jagged ones with snow-capped peaks. I think living in Montana has influenced my collage imagery to be of mountain ranges and anything pretty from nature.

UO: Your work references both the mundane and the whimsical; what made you decide to combine these?

I feel like a lot of our days are filled with the mundane routine but also substantial moments that contribute to growth and significant turning points in our lives. Some of those moments for me are found in spirituality, which I feel like is visually intangible but best represented in a whimsical, ethereal form.

UO: How do you go about finding the perfect images to use?

I’m not exaggerating when I say there’s only two places in Montana that sell vintage magazines so I’ve resorted to buying them on Craigslist in North Dakota.

UO: What other artists are you interested in currently?

Kate Pugsly, Eva Black

UO: There are recurrent elements to your work such as mountains and jewels; how have you refined you style over the years?

My work has become more personal over the years. My latest series, Renewal, delves into stories about myself, like day-to-day life, the process of moving to a new city, and my relationship with spirituality.

UO: Describe your style in three words.

Botanical, mystical, colorful

UO: What can we expect to see from you next?

More graphic design work, hand lettering, and collages. I really want to finish this flamingo collage I’ve been working on for a year, so currently I’m on the lookout for a swimming pool to finish it…