First few basic questions, who are you, what are you doing, where are you coming from?
My name is Paola Dcroz, born in Colombia 46 years ago but have been based in Madrid for over 20 years. I studied Communication and Graphic Design and worked in advertising for a long period but after becoming a mother of three I shifted to something else.
I began doing collage at the beginning of lockdown because I randomly discovered Februllage and wanted to join, this was a rush of inspiration and creativity, I quickly got hooked on daily practice and started collaging every day to meet the challenge, and when it ended I couldn’t stop. I feel so attracted to the materiality, the randomness, and endless possibilities – It amazes me how something so humble as a bunch of paper can bring life to so much beauty.
I honor the moment I indulge myself in the array of thoughts and emotions, I experience catharsis and it has become a therapeutic act of expression.
Do you have favorite subjects to work around, or do you like the challenge of working with something new?
I am always drawn to the same topics, every time I start a new collage I find myself searching for the same imagery, I feel the urge to delve into it to unravel something inside me. Sometimes, at the least, I try something different, but It’s like trying to speak a language that does not belong to me. In my case, collage is closely linked to emotions and complexities of life that disturb and move me, that is why I always walk around the same thing, like a meditation. It’s a very intimate practice.
“Collage is my passion, it expresses me in the most perfect way, it celebrates the randomness in me”
Can you tell about the process of making your work?
I usually start looking for body images, faces, and hands in different magazines at the same time, I also go through the pieces of discarded paper that I have left from previous days, I turn the music on and I start to cut. When I have a certain amount of separate images I start to arrange them like a puzzle, trying to find the way in which they complete each other in a precise way. It’s a slow process that responds to emotion and ends with a hunch.
There are other moments in which I am going through difficult times and I do collage as a form of liberation, cutting is in both ways an act of destruction and creation. I love the moment in which I leave the world behind and start to cut getting myself fascinated with the images, the vibration between them, the tension. I sometimes keep working with a piece in my mind while I go to sleep – Collage is my passion, it expresses me in the most perfect way, it celebrates the randomness in me. It has changed my life lighting a spark that fuels me with joy.
Which elements in your works reflect you the most?
The aspects that most reflect me are the faces, the hands, the organic forms, images of nature as well as images that describe spaces or abstract, chaotic forms, I also use the pieces of paper that remain after cutting the images, they are unexpected and casual and fill the space with a beautiful erratic feeling. Silhouettes and their sense of emptiness and absence are also important elements in my work.
What emotions and thoughts do you identify within yourself when you’re collaging or after it?
When I sit down and display all the material in front of me I go through a rush of expectation thinking of all the endless possibilities that hide, through the process I go through the awareness of my yearning for care, I materialize every feeling that comes from the act of being, surviving some painful moments, the fact of living far from my family; it’s a way of healing wounds.
I liberate my mind. I am a loner and it’s tricky sometimes to interact with others. I experience freedom! It’s the best way to spend time alone. Collage has shown me who I am, it has been the only path to decipher my mind in the most fascinating way. It has also taught me to love myself in every aspect; in the successes and the errors, the ugly and the bad.
If you compare your very first works to your very latest ones, what is the biggest difference? What has changed?
When I started to do collage I began by getting familiar with certain topics and images, it was a tentative practice that consisted of finding what best suited what I was looking for, although from the beginning it was the human body that caught my attention. With daily practice, I have started to find my way of working, more fluid and impulsive, spontaneous, less rational, and more emotional, ignoring the ego or if it looks good or not.
Some time ago I started using paper cuts that I used to put aside, these cuts are now the main part of my work, they are one of the elements that best represent what I want to say. Now when I compare my latest work with the previews one I see that it has evolved towards something more robust, strong, more unconstrained, and direct.
How do you boost your creativity? Do you have creative rituals?
There are many ways in which I do it, the basic ones include a lot of walking, it’s so necessary to keep the mind light and flowing, watching nature, visiting museums, a cup of tea, memories, difficult situations related to human relationships are a great source of ideas. Massive attack really gets me into the mood, Dead can Dance, Portishead. Tina Berning’s illustrations are so inspiring!
What is your workspace like?
My working space is the floor of the attic, I sit on the stairs that lead to it and the floor is my table. This space is surrounded by huge windows that let the beautiful light in and I can see the horizon from here. I have a table as well and I have tried several times to organize it but it always ends up full of paper, absolutely covered with it. I have two bookshelves and a chest drawer. This year I am planning to have a proper mini-studio, I want a huge table where I can leave unfinished work and I want to be tidier. It’s a bit of chaos sometimes and this stresses me a bit!
What are your favorite source materials? How do you find them? Do you spend much time while looking for them?
I work with contemporary magazines; fashion, architecture, and design. I find them in the local newspaper stands and sometimes I visit big bookshops to look for international numbers, through the internet, I buy past years’ copies. When I travel to other countries I look for other brands to search for different points of view, other paper textures, and sizes.
If you should describe your art with one word, what would it be?
Intimate and emotional