First the basic introduction – Can you tell me who are you, what are you doing, where are you coming from?
Hey! I’m LocalHotelParking, also known as Katie. I’m based in Manchester, UK and I’m a surrealist hand-cut collage artist.
Why collages? And how did you start to do them?
I’ve been creating hand-cut work for over ten years. I started by making cards and joke ransom notes out of newspapers for my friends and family. I’ve always been a dab hand with a pair of scissors or a craft knife (make of that what you will). I can’t draw to save my life, but I’ve always needed to create, so I used a medium that was already there for me… collage!
Can you describe your relationship/fascination with paper as a working material? What do you like most about it?
I just adore the vintage print, it’s like spying into the past! Being able to create work out of long-forgotten photographs and pictures gives them a new lease of life; they can be viewed again by a whole generation of new eyes. I love manipulating images and creating a new dialogue with them. I’m such a hoarder of old material… bookcases and bookcases full, with some dating back to the 1940s.
What art supplies do you use? Digital or analog? If analog, then scissors or blade? Glue or tapes? What are your tools?
I am purely analog, I use a Swann Morton no3 handle with no10 blades, I sometimes use 10a blades too, but the 10 is the precision master. I don’t really use scissors, I find I concentrate more and get tighter cuts with a blade. I use Spray Mount for all of my gluing, yeah it can be a little messy but it’s the perfect adhesive for me; even coverage, no bubbles or discoloration, and it sticks hard! I also have a circle cutter and a couple of stencils that I use regularly. My trusty metal ruler is essential – I rarely create a piece without it.
You really caught my attention with your geometric works where you’re distorting the image with circles/circular elements, they’re so the mesmerizingly trippy – how did you start to do those?
This is a relatively new venture for me. I really love experimenting with perception, so with the purchase of a new precision circle cutter, I was in my element. You have to pick the right piece to create these, it’s all about the horizon line or bold lines that run through the piece that you can follow – I’ve tried it many times on different images and you don’t get the right effect unless you have a strong through-line.
Can you tell me about the process of making your work?
My work process is very sporadic, when I’m creating for myself it normally starts with one cut out, and I’ll work from that, adding layers or finding the right background. Normally the ideas in my head at the beginning of a piece are nothing like the end result, and I love that, I’m constantly surprised by my work! When I structured a piece I like to leave it on my desk for an hour or so while I go away and work on something else, I’ll then come back to it and if it still excites me then I will glue it down.
“These are the images that really call out to me – beautifully lost nostalgia waiting to be given its new lease of life.”
What are your favorite source materials? How do you find them? Do you spend a lot of time while looking for them?
I’m a charity shop expert – that may be slightly big-headed of me, but I know how to shop. Nearly all of my material is sourced in the hundreds of charity shops that are found in Greater Manchester. I prefer old material from the 1950s-1970s – these are the images that really call out to me – beautifully lost nostalgia waiting to be given its new lease of life. I’ve been known to find material in 2nd hand bookshops, markets, car boot sales, auctions… and sometimes material donated to me from friends and family.
While you’re working on new artwork, when do you know it’s ready?
I guess I sorta just know, haha! I’ll never glue anything down I’m not happy with, I don’t see the point. There have been many times when I’ve pondered over a piece for weeks and then decided it’s not right; then later I’ll end up using one of the components in something else I adore, and I’ll be so thankful I never glued the first piece down! As I mentioned above I need to rest the pieces for a while before I glue to make sure I’m certain. But when I know… I know!
What’s your favorite work? And why, what makes it stand out?
My favorite piece is School Trip 1942 (the one with the gas mask children stood posing in front of the hills). It dates back to around 2013 and really signifies the turning point from creating throwaway cards and joke composites to taking my creativity seriously. That’s why I use this piece for all of my branding; it’s my logo, my business card design and I will never, ever part with the original. I love the tongue-in-cheek humor it emotes, and it has caused me a little bit of trouble in public too… once being told off by an older lady at a market for glamorizing war, but it’s open to interpretation, like all of my work.
If you should describe your art with one word, what would it be?