Christina Elderkin’s Hand-Cut Collages of Surrealism and Hyperreality
Christina is employed as a Nursing Assistant as well as an Assistant Instructor teaching
wilderness first aid. After years of engaged field work in adventure guiding, environmental education, and trail stewardship, she believes this experience shaped her creative lens. Christina Elderkin has been creating analog, hand-cut, collage pieces since 2017. Always a process, she dissects ideas surrounding the environment and society, space, and imagination. There is social and universal relevance in her work, especially in conversation with our shared skin, and our world. She is interested in this awareness of belonging to a human community bound together by a shared past and a future to be constructed in common. She examines our shared human skin and experience: social and environmental pressures that we all encounter in our modern world.
In this interview with Christina, we discuss her subject of work, when she created her first collage, her source of inspiration, and how she brings every artwork to life.
1. Christina your collages are quite interesting. Can you talk about the subject of your collages?
My collage subjects are fluid because of the process of curation and discovery. I use my hands; the physical finding of the subject is a moment of joy. The idea will coalesce between my mental library of images and the physical pieces. Sometimes this discovery is the catalyst for an entire work. I return to images that are colorful, and detailed, and provoke an emotional connection. Through selection and juxtaposition, I hope to explore our human relationship to identity, community, politics, climate change, and technology, by presenting questions about our shared world. Questions that posit dichotomies between internal and external, natural and artificial, wilderness and civilization, real and imagined.
2. When did you first start creating collages?
I started in 2017 with a box cutter, national geographic, and a lot of failure and persistence.
She examines our shared
human skin and experience: social and environmental pressures that we all encounter in our
3. In your bio, you said that collage is like an exacto knife surgery that takes apart and puts together the anatomy of the hyperreal. Would you elaborate more on this?
I am reaching for visual metaphor because all of our linguistic structures ultimately fail. The hyperreal is where we are now: invented images play just as big a part of our lives as reality. I use images of reality and invented reality to construct new perspectives, extracting, amputating, and grafting to reveal an idea. Precision is crucial. It feels like an operation; the layout process brings life to the form.
The surgery and layout process bring life to the form.
4. What would you say is your biggest source of inspiration?
Collage is an international language. It energizes me to be sharing conversation and creative space in the community with other artists. I gather images I find thought-provoking or successful in their composition. Musical or written works help me sit in certain questions or ideas that take more time to cultivate and convey visually. There are extraordinary collage artists online that were foundational to my creative journey. In my own work, I like to honor specific artists with their own tribute pieces: Georgia O’Keefe being featured in “paint colors like Frida,” [Frida Kahlo] (2021), “canción para Dali” [Salvador Dali] (2021), “David Byrne” (2021), and “another place and time” [Antony Gormley] (2021).
5. Christina, do you have any new projects you are working on that you want to share with us?
I am hoping to have the opportunity to work in collaboration with more artists. I loved the creative focus and community at Eutopia Artist Residency in Kavala, Greece, this past summer. I was invited to teach a children’s collage workshop there, “Oceana,” at the Cosmopolis Festival. Eventually, I would love to offer workshops and share the fun and messy process of college around the world. February is coming up, and the international community of collage artists, both digital and hand-cut, will participate in #Februllage, a thematic prompt for every day of the month. I find that commitment to creating every day is its own project.
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