Interview: Bev Acton

First few basic questions, who are you, what are you doing, where are you coming from?

Hello! I’m Bev and I’m a surreal collage artist from Manchester, in the North of the UK.

How would you describe your style? And if you look back, how quickly did you find your ”style”?

Someone once compared my style to John Stezaker on acid. I like that a lot, so let’s stick with that. It took me a real while to find my style, lots of experimenting, lots of late nights spent pulling my hair out, a LOT of misdemeanours with my scissors when they wouldn’t cooperate. I’ve been collaging since I was 17, and I would say I was 21 when I really started to define myself, but even now I am still learning.

What are your favorite themes to pursue? And why?

I love creating a sense of escapism, dreaming up new worlds that I just want to jump into. I also really love working with florals, and mountains. Lots of mountains. And it’s ALWAYS made using vintage pictures.

What inspires you and your works?

Lots! Places around me, the people I love, dreams, songs, poems, quotes… I love the challenge of trying to make a collage out of anything. I also love looking at other collage artists work, just one element of theirs might spark a whole new piece for me, my favourite influences actually come from the likes of vintage propaganda, I especially love the works of Gustav Klutsis.

If you compare your very first works to your very latest ones, what is the biggest difference? What has changed?

My confidence, definitely. Also my fearlessness, I used to only put certain shapes, situations, and styles together, whereas now I approach unafraid, and I work more on intuition and feelings than design ‘rules’, which is something I found difficult to change, as I have a graphic design background, where the rules are very much set in stone.

What has been your proudest moment with your art?

Honestly, when people take the time to message me to tell me I have inspired them, their child or student. It makes me feel so proud, that I’ve made even a small impact on someone’s relationship with art and collage. It’s a really lovely feeling.

What have you learned about yourself through being an artist?

That I’m far too critical of myself. But also, that I have this ability to take existing moments and create something new. I’ve learned that I can do anything I put my mind to.

How easy or hard is it to finish your work? Do you ever get burnt out on a piece, and what do you do to keep working and being productive?

I get burnt out all the time! I think that’s a very natural part of being an artist. We work too hard and relax too little. It’s a fine line to tread when you are doing something you love so much, you have to look after yourself before you grow resentful and tired. I find pieces incredibly difficult to start, and finishing is actually the easiest part, as usual, I’m too excited. If I am burnt out and don’t feel productive then I stop. I take a few days, watch my fave movies, listen to some podcasts, and hang out with my cat. You must rest to refresh.

What your art and collaging mean to you?

It means a lot. A whole lot. It means that I’m doing something that I love and that I have loved for a long time. It’s my escape and my home inside my brain.

If you should describe your art with one word, what would it be?


Bev Acton around the internet