Saturday, 8 May 2010

Guest: Vivienne Strauss

I can't remember exactly when I discovered Vivienne Strauss and her wonderful, quirky, colourful work, but I do remember it stopped me in my tracks. I found her on Flickr, and have adored keeping up with her newest pieces both there and via her blog and Etsy shops ever since.

1. Esther, Doreen and Betsy, all self-assured seniors from the class of '46, 2. Envy. She was green with it., 3. The Party - le maschere di ogni giorno ! (the masks of everyday), 4. Antoine Does His Best to Impress Babette, 5. Pansy Feared that She Would Never be Able to Keep Up with Phyllis and Natalie, 6. Each autumn Myrtle Burstein felt the urge to run away from home. She packed her suitcase over and over but never went any where.

We asked her to create something for our party, and tell us a little about the ‘copy’ and ‘paste’ parts of the process.



A lot of my paintings come from within but most start from something outside myself. This particular painting was inspired by a vintage photo that was given to me by a generous friend. I don't necessarily try to capture exact likenesses but rather a mood. When I work with vintage photos I can't help but spend a lot of time wondering not just about that exact moment that was captured on film but also what preceded that moment and what happened afterwards. I wonder what those people went on to do, what they would think of some random stranger not only possessing their personal photographs but painting portraits of them.

We also asked Vivienne to send us a mini-biography along with her project and I wanted to post it here, partly because it’s always interesting to read about an artist’s background, but also because of what she says about inspiration:

Vivienne Strauss lives and works in Portland, Oregon with her husband and fellow artist, Matte Stephens. She has a degree in Philosophy but has had no formal training in the arts. Vivienne is primarily a painter but also likes to work with collage. She is inspired by classic films, both foreign and American, vintage photographs and fashion as well as by what she reads or hears. Often a well written phrase or an interesting sounding name will develop into a painting or even a a whole series of them. Vivienne fills her watercolor paintings with whimsical details and humorous stories. Her characters seem to write their own dialogue as she creates them in paint.

That combination of words, pictures, story and ideas is the kind of thing that makes us especially giddy here at Copy+Paste! To get an even better idea of how they work together in Vivienne’s paintings, take yourself off to her Flickr stream or blog and admire pieces with titles such as ‘Fern and Gloria desperately gave excuses for not having any cake, they were sure the cats had been licking it’, ‘Anita tries to be polite as Gail doles out some more unsolicited advice’ and ‘Chloe had found the perfect shoes for her new dress, unfortunately they were a size too small and her feet were killing her’. If, like me, you find them hard to resist, you can also visit her Etsy stores for prints and watercolours, oil paintings and collage pieces.

Thanks so much for being a wonderful guest, Vivienne!

1 comment:

Natasha said...

What fabulous illustrations. I shall definately have a look on flickr!

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