Down the Color Hole
We’re excited to feature a showcase of Natalie Ciccoricco’s work, which uses mixed media to construct colorful, multi-faceted collages that are both mesmerizing and dreamlike.
My mixed media collages are original, analog works that mainly consist of embroidery thread and found images, which I use to weave together new narratives on paper. By re-using old materials, it is my hope to give them a new life and meaning. For my artworks, I draw inspiration from the American landscape, dreams, nature, arts, literature, and my travels.
Down the Color Hole
My latest series Down the Color Hole is an exploration into color and the concept of multiple dimensions. I use embroidery thread on images of old books and magazines to create the visual illusion of a new vantage point - a glitch in space and time from which the image seems to explode or implode, depending on how you look at it.
The process of creating these pieces is like a form of meditation. I take my time picking out my next image from old books and magazines, carefully preparing it for embroidery and selecting the different colors of thread I will use. My favorite part is the stitching itself, as it slowly reveals what the piece will look like. The repetition of the motions is very calming. Even though I always have an idea in my mind of the end result, I am always surprised by the finished piece. I enjoy spending a lot of time with the images, as there are so many new details that I will notice while working on them.
These collages are a tribute to the California landscape and Native American symbolism and weaving techniques. In these collages, black and white images from old books, photographs and postcards are used along with embroidery thread.
The idea for this series emerged after a trip to the majestic Yosemite National Park. You can see traditional Native American shapes and symbols in these collages, combined with modern interpretations of different weaving styles.
One of the artworks in this series got selected for the Yosemite Renaissance XXXI juried show and was on display in the Museum Gallery of Yosemite National Park in the Spring of 2016, which I consider one of the highlights in my art journey so far.
Both in life and art, people tend to fight nature so hard, eager to preserve that which we perceive as beauty. Whether it is a brand new shiny car, an oil painting by an old master or our own youth - humans seem to be consumed by their pursuit of pausing time and fighting against any kind of aging. I think this comes from our own fear of not being in control, our fear of aging and an ultimately death. Yet, there is such beauty in decay, as it symbolizes the ongoing circle of life. Think about how beautiful the fallen leaves are in autumn, patina on an old car, wrinkles as a testament of a life well lived or . . . a faded photograph.
With this series I wanted to highlight the colors that time and light have brought out in these faded photographs. I wanted to show that if you take the time to really look at things and give them your full attention, you can start having a deeper appreciation for what we call ‘imperfection’ and realize everything is just part of the ongoing cycle of life and death that is the fabric of our universe. There truly is beauty everywhere.
This series features vehicles that symbolize our constant travels - near and far, long and short. Traveling can be liberating and transformative. New experiences and locations provide fresh perspectives and help us open our minds. As a recent immigrant, I enjoy exploring my new surroundings in California and beyond. I like to use vehicles in my collages, as for me they represent adventure and exploring the unknown.
Ice Cream Noir
Years ago I found a stack of silent movie photographs at a flea market in Germany. I wasn’t making any collages at the time, but I just knew I had to have them. I have always loved looking at them and they have proved to be an endless source of inspiration for my collages.
The idea for my Ice Cream Noir series came to me late one night, at that moment just before falling asleep. I wanted to make these movie stars from the olden days really pop. Pop like a popsicle on a hot summer day. Scoop them up and serve them fresh - with a cone out of embroidery thread, a dollop of washi paper, and a bright, red cherry on top. Inspired by the pop-art movement, I believe art doesn’t always have to be serious.
A butterfly symbolizes transformation and with this series, I wanted to celebrate the lives of all these movie stars I did not know. To give their images a second life feels rewarding. Their metamorphoses are meant to be joyful and fun. I created their wings by using ink, watercolor, and embroidery thread on paper.
For this series, I use images of faces from old books and play around with giving them a new look and identity. In these pieces I like to experiment with the characteristics and limitations of embroidery thread as a medium. I like to mix traditional weaving techniques with a more freestyle approach, while pushing the boundaries of embroidery on paper.
Natalie Ciccoricco is a Dutch collage artist, living in California. She has shown art in juried shows at various renowned galleries, such as the Yosemite National Park Museum Gallery, the Bedford Gallery in Walnut Creek, STUDIO Gallery in San Francisco, and La Luz de Jesus in L.A.