Interview: Kate Burden

Introduction, Can you tell us who you are and where you are coming from and what you are doing?

Hello, I’m Kate Burden. I live in Sheffield, UK. I work as a projectionist at a small independent cinema. I studied Fine Art making short films and sound pieces, installation and photography. I then didn’t make anything for ages, probably busy having too much of a good time or something! I always manage to rope myself into creative projects for people and always go overboard at fancy dress parties. I suppose it’s got to come out somewhere eventually! I now must not be having too much of a good time because I’m back making art…

Why collages? What was it about the medium that spoke to you?

I like old illustrations and photographs, I like found super 8 footage, vinyl records, and junk shops, and I like hearing samples in music. I also like stealing things, so I guess collage is perfect for a tea leaf-like me! I started out making small toy sculptures then found this really cool vintage children’s book that I wanted to use in some way, so I tried out collage. I’m really just a beginner with collage, I didn’t realise that there was a whole world of collage artists out there until Instagram. I just try to do my own thing and enjoy the process of making stuff but I’m not limiting myself to only collage, maybe I will do a nice oil painting one day.

What are your favourite source materials? How do you find them? Do you spend much time looking for them?

I do like old illustrations found in vintage children’s books, I love the matte paper and the muted colours. I spend quite a bit of time looking for full images of things, even though I will chop it up in the end, it bugs me if I can’t start with a full-body or a complete thing. I used to trawl the charity shops for books but that took ages for very few good finds. I’ve bought a few books online, but I don’t have lots of money so I just work with what I have until it’s pretty much gone. It’s kind of challenging but I like that.

How do you work and approach your subject?

I find one or two interesting parts that I like, never usually more than that as I get a bit lost. Then I kind of put them together (usually people or animals) in some sort of predicament – mostly to amuse myself! I like to think that my work (both collages and sculptures) could move in some way, I like to capture something that is about to happen or maybe just did.

Do you work on multiple collages at the same time or simply focus on one?

Just one at a time, my brain can’t cope with more than that. Although they look pretty simple, some are quite intricate and have taken a long time to cut out – especially with really blunt scissors!

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

Sometimes I don’t finish pieces, well, nothing gets stuck down anyway. I do persevere though, maybe too much! To the point where it goes past what I thought I knew what I was doing and becomes something that surprises me, sometimes good and sometimes bad. If however, I’ve been shuffling those bits around for too long, I down those stupid blunt scissors and return again another day!

What does your art and collaging mean to you?

It’s the unknown and where it will go next that excites me. It’s escapism, it’s a Whoopee Cushion! – a sort of surprise and release at the same time! I suppose it’s a bit of therapy too, sometimes it could be about what has pissed me off on that day or maybe someone’s toenails I noticed while on the bus. Buses are great places to get pissed off but also a place for great inspiration. There is love and sentiment in my work too if you look hard enough.

How do your own artworks make you feel when you look at them ready?

They are all my strange little children that only a mother could be proud of.

Which other art forms inspire you besides collaging? And does it somehow show in your works?

I like anecdotes and awkward situations. I love poetry and language so I think that comes through in my work, hearing words or phrases that trigger an idea for an artwork. I suppose being a projectionist for so long and catching snippets of film through the portholes has got to have some sort of influence somewhere – like walking into the middle of a conversation and getting the wrong end of the stick.

If you should describe your art in one word, what would that be?


Kate Burden around the internet

Instagram: @kate_burden_