Tennessee-based Holly Chastain’s collages are little gems. When I first found them on Pinterest it was like discovering a beloved novel as a first edition in a vintage bookshop (think Shakespeare and Company, my favourite Parisian store). Well-worn book covers have been separated from their pages and decorated with mysterious black and white figures and brightly coloured shapes. I was keen to find out more about where these book covers came from and what inspired the figures depicted on them.
Whats your background? How did you end up doing what you are doing now?
After studying art in school I started my career in graphic design and marketing. It was a lot of fun but wasn’t satisfying me creatively. When my job was moved across the country I took the plunge and decided to see what I could build up and accomplish if I moved back to analog. Collage was something new that I had never attempted before so it seemed a perfect technique for a fresh start.
What inspires your work, in particular the Book Covers?
The found scribbles and notes and writing on the book covers that I use equals personality to me and that is where I draw inspiration for the compositions. I start with a book cover and a clipped found image and go from there.
How does your design process work for the Book Covers, how do you find the books?
I find them in all kinds of places; thrift shops, antique dealers, library discards, salvage bins… All of the pencil marks and scribbles and notes are there when I find the books. Through the years that I have been working with book covers I’ve found that old textbooks are the best! Children that are bored in class are the most creative with their doodles.
Are they all one of a kind?
They are. I have published print editions of a few of the book covers but each original piece is one of a kind.
What else have you been working on?
This summer I am working larger on panels for some upcoming shows. It’s a different experience to work on the same piece for weeks.
What does the future hold for you?
I just want to keep working and keep making things!