Taking a unique approach to collage, Maria Rivans is known for her layered portraits of vintage Hollywood starlets each with a headdress overflowing with collaged elements that create an entirely new world to get lost in.
Following the release of Maria’s new book, ‘Extraordinary Things to Cut Out and Collage’ we are celebrating ‘Maria Month’ with an exclusive book and print bundle release, an exciting (socially distanced) signing event, and just general appreciation for the marvellous Maria!
Meet Maria at our signing event – Sign up at eventbrite
Maria has given us exclusive access to her Brighton studio so we popped in to talk collage, life as an artist and her inspirations…
What made you decide to become an artist? Have you always focused on collage/photomontage?
As soon as I could hold a pencil I began drawing, it was inevitable that I would go into the arts.
When I was a kid I loved watching the Sunday afternoon matinees. Bette Davis in a Stolen Life plays an artist, she had this amazing studio and I knew instantly that’s exactly what I wanted too. I studied 3D design at Brighton, it was a very free, drawing based course which I loved. After my degree I kinda fell into the jewellery world and set up my own workshop but after a while I really had a burning desire to be a fine artist and began to play around with collage. It slowly took over and I have never looked back.
What is a typical day like for you as an artist?
I spend everyday in the studio, I feel very content and happy when I am in my studio, it’s like a safe haven and I love to create and make, whilst listening to music. I love to go out for walks along the beach and countryside. I had a very busy social life before the pandemic hit us, I enjoyed seeing my family and friends, visiting galleries, the cinema, theatre and going to restaurants. I still haven’t been too social but getting there now lockdown has eased off.
What is your favourite thing about living in Brighton?
Ooh too many things to have one favourite thing. I love the people, they are open minded and liberal, but I am always drawn to the sea. It feeds my soul.
What made you decide to release a book?
It actually happened by accident. Laurence King approached me to write an introduction for a collage book idea they had but after the initial meeting we became pretty excited about my collection of vintage materials and the style of imagery that I love, so I was asked if I would like to be the author. I couldn’t say no, what a fabulous opportunity they gave me. The book took a year to make, it was a mammoth undertaking.
What is your favourite thing about being an artist?
I really get my kicks from the whole making process. It’s exciting watching an idea develop, I love the hands on making approach I use to make my work and finally seeing the idea actualised into a final collage. It is very satisfying and then I can’t wait to make my next idea.
What are your main inspirations? Are there any other artists you admire?
Many artists and things - Alfred Hitchcock, Sarah Lucas, David Bowie, Vivienne Westwood, Max Ernst, Hyronimus Bosch, The Surrealists, Richard Hamilton, Planet of the Apes, Land of the Giants, Humour, Love, Meditation, Paolozzi, Rauschenberg, David Lynch and many many more….
What do you think is the appeal of the pin up girls and the 1950s era?
They form early memories of my happy childhood, I grew up with these actors from a very young age. I really loved the film noire genre starring powerful women like Bette Davis and Joan Crawford who shaped my childhood into believing that women were strong and could achieve anything they wanted in life. They truly inspired me to be independent and adventurous. Each Pin-up contains meaning which I hope each viewer connects with and will find a little something that resonates with them personally.
Why do you think it is important to have art in the home and what do you think your art brings to a space?
Art is such a personal thing, for me I find that each piece of art I own has its individual reason for being on my wall. I gain so much pleasure from being surrounded by art, visually it is stimulating, each piece bringing its own identity and purpose for being part of my collection. Maybe it is colour, subject matter or meaning. I think there is usually a connection to a piece of art, sometimes it can’t be explained what that connection is, often it is heartfelt. I hope that my work brings these emotions and reasons to the spaces in which they find themselves.
Tell us about the exclusive bundle you have with Enter Gallery?
The bundle includes:
A limited edition signed copy of my book.
A hand embellished and signed mini Juno print. Each print has a miniature piece of collage sitting on God’s hand. It could be anything from a pony, a cow or a person, but each piece of collage is unique.
All wrapped up in a beautifully hand silkscreened and signed envelope
Only 30 available.
What collaborations/commissions are you working on at the moment or have in the pipeline?
I have been working on a lot of illustrative projects, one for a band (to be disclosed at a later date), a fabulous new beverage company and most recently a 7 meter wall for the reception area for the new Selina Hotel in Brighton. At the moment I am illustrating stories for the Wellcome Collection, they have a massive archive of images, which has been wonderful to route through and freely use. And then I will be working on a list of private commissions; I can’t wait to get stuck in to making some big hands-on collages again. I share a studio with Bonnie and Clyde and we are always talking about working on collaboration together. We love discussing the ideas of what we want to make, one day we will find the time and actually make something!
Check out our exclusive Juno Mini print & book bundle
Meet Maria - sign up at eventbrite