First few basic questions, who are you, what are you doing, where are you coming from?
I’m Rocío Romero, a Spanish collage artist based in Sevilla. I studied architecture at university and from that moment I was very interested in the world of collage as a tool to show my projects. But you have to travel further back in time to my childhood and teen years where I already felt a great interest in the paper in all its range, whether it was for scrapbooking or making some kind of art. When I was in my twenties I focused on photography but in some natural way, I started playing with collage. I used to collect old papers, magazines, flyers, postcards and I started to use them to collage. I’m in love with the texture and substance of the paper. I usually work analog collage, not digital at the moment.
In your works, you mix different solid colors & shapes with photographic imagery – How quickly you found the “style” you were comfortable with/see yourself in?
To be honest I’m not sure if I have that “style” to be comfortable with. I’m always playing and trying new stuff. My workflows unconsciously into working with double layers or two opposing materials.
In the works you mention before from my collage series “The day after” I work on the first layer, which is black and White, where scenes from everyday life appear torn and mixed. On top of it is the second layer, already in colour, those solid forms try to give sense to the previous layer as glue or as a cover These works were born in the hardest moments of the past lockdown in 2020 where my work was becoming more and more abstract and in which I played on the idea that what we take for granted, when the time comes, can disappear suddenly, overnight.
“I’m in love with paper, the smell, the texture, the old colors, the sound when I cut them.”
How you would describe your relationship to paper as a working material?
I’m in love with paper, the smell, the texture, the old colors, the sound when I cut them. Why need to use paint when you only need to cut a piece of coloured paper? Sometimes If I cannot find the piece of paper that I need, I can paint on it and then cut it into the shape I’m looking for. Sometimes I like to think I Paint or draw with paper. This is not a new technique that I had invented by myself, it is just what I feel when I’m working on collage.
What’s the best part of the collaging process?
Collecting things and looking for new materials. I can hang out for hours in a second-hand bookshop, lost among piles of old books and magazines. And many ideas come to my mind just when I’m turning the pages of those books or magazines. Inspiration comes to me when I’m surrounded by all these papers.
I love too making “collage gym”, I can explain to you what it means: When I’m working on a new series of works that I have a plan on my mind and I get to my studio I usually start first making collages of two pieces random just to warm up prior to work. It’s funny and sometimes I find new ideas for collaging.
And, of course, when I get a great final collage that makes me feel over the moon oh! it is a great moment from the collaging process.
And then, what’s the hardest part?
I always work with original materials, and sometimes the process is not good, so I can end the day with a collage that I’m not satisfied with, and also I have damaged the material so I cannot use it again. It’s the worse part. You don’t have a delete button when you are working on an analog collage.
However, from those kinds of mistakes you can learn a lot and find new ways of work, so, in the end, the hardest part indeed is that I cannot collage all day because this is not a full-time job.
While you’re working on new artwork, when do you know it’s ready?
I don’t know. I don’t have a rule or a primer to follow to get the answer. I feel it and that is enough. I would say when I feel happy when I see the piece ready. Sometimes it is in one session or one day but I can need more than a day to feel the artwork is ready. Sometimes it is an easy process and other times it is very hard to get, but when you feel it you know without any kind of doubt.
How do the finished works make you feel? If you think of the easily finished work or the work that made you struggle and feel pain, are there different feelings?
No, I feel just the same for all my finished artworks. I mean, once the artwork is finished I don’t think so much about its process. I tend to forget if the process has been painful and keep moving.
What inspires you or your work?
Nature, women, cinema, poetry, colours, own collage materials… just the same to me and to my artwork.
What keeps you collaging? What excites you about it?
I just can’t help not making collage. Collage is a very important part of my life, as a collage maker, as a collage viewer, and as a collage collector. Even if I’m not in my studio I’m playing with pieces of paper on my desk, when I’m reading or cooking…
I’m part of several collage communities and I only find very nice and talented people in them. Above all, very unselfish and generous people who share their time and experience with you. How could I leave all this…
If you should describe your art with one word, what would it be?