I am beyond pleased to be able to introduce Rachel T Robertson to you today! Rachel has been a huge inspiration to me for several years. Her collage artwork is thoughtful, exciting, and breathtaking. I love the unique blend of materials and design she uses in each one. Rachel works by day as the display coordinator for an Anthropologie store and by night as a creator and artist.
Rachel was kind enough to share some of her process and wisdom in a short interview! Enjoy!
When did you begin creating assemblage artwork?
In college I was taking a sculpture class. I had been struggling to create 3-D work that was compatible with my 2-D work (mainly drawings, prints and paintings). I had an “a-ha” moment after picking up random scraps of wood and sheet metal. I combined them in a way that made sense to me intuitively and I was hooked. (I still have those pieces I created.) After that, my 2-D work changed. I began to add more layers, combine media, sew on my pieces and introduce more graphic elements.
Can you describe your creative process?
I make things:
• everyday in my full-time position as display coordinator for one of the Anthropologie stores
• in the evenings
• on the weekends
I always seem to have multiple projects going on, whether it’s a series of collages, a knit scarf or a large scale window installation. I guess my creative process is on-going and everyday.
What inspires you in your day-to-day life as an artist?
Modern design (especially mid-century modern), architecture, textile design, fibers & fabric, graphic design, plants, the landscape…clearly, a lot of things. Currently I have an unhealthy obsession with Instagram (username: displaylady), adore Sheila Hicks (who inspired my current fiber jewelry project), can’t get enough of Nigel Peake’s work and think Doug Johnston’s pieces with rope and cord are out of this world.
I see elements of graphic, modern design in your work. Is this something you think about intentionally or is it subconscious?
Long answer: I grew up surrounded by art and design. My father had a furniture shop and design business (and also painted and illustrated) from the 1960’s onward so our lives were surrounded by beautiful things, mid-century modern furniture, art and books. My mom is a fantastic seamstress as well as a genius with knitting needles and was always sewing clothes for us or knitting a sweater for me that I, basically, art-directed her to make. I inherited a tiny fraction of my dad’s talent/eye for good design and a mere dollop of my mom’s skills and my taste never strayed too far from my dad’s.
Short answer: both intentional and subconscious.
Can you give a tip to an aspiring artist that they won’t learn in art school but need to know?
I got good advice from someone once a long time ago that seems really simple and annoying:
‘Keep making things.’
That’s it. Make stuff all the time. Even if what you make is awful you will inevitably learn something and get better at what you are making. Oh, and don’t compare yourself constantly to others and their work. It will keep you from moving forward. I am still working on that one myself.
Thank you so much Rachel Robertson! I hope you are as inspired as I am! Let’s get busy making things!