Lori Reed Mixed Medium / Collage - Illinois, USA

You grew up in the country, has this helped to heighten your vision of colour and space?

Surrounded by views of pasture, woods and cornfields, I definitely tuned into the changing beauty of landscape at an early age. I was also a bit isolated growing up on a farm, so not having other kids around to play with caused me to develop my inner creativity.

Discuss the ‘sense of place’ in your current work.

Because of the alterations I do to my landscape photography, I feel the end result is a sense of the place – like a memory of it – removed from the original photographic representation of an exact moment in time.


Joyful, detail

 When did you move from traditional collage to using photography?

I visited Yellowstone National Park in the American West for the first time in 2009. I came home with hundreds of photographs and a strong desire to make art with them. I began to experiment with the photos in Photoshop; I’d then cut up the photos into rectangles or tear the prints to build a new landscape out of several altered prints. One day I had the idea to run the prints through a paper shredder and that’s how my current way of working was born.

 Yellowstone Strata

Yellowstone Strata

Can you expand on the techniques you use in your art?

I alter my photograph by running filters in Adobe Photoshop, adjusting color saturation and hue. I make three variations of a photo, put those into templates I’ve made that have cut marks for every quarter inch, print those out and cut the image into strips using a Xacto knife and ruler. I cut out sections of the strips to start building the base layer from the top down, apply acrylic matte medium to the strip and to the cradled panel, and glue the paper down. I then come back and add a second and third layer of pieces to continue breaking up the image. “Joyful Beginnings” was a recent commission, and you can see the prints on my drawing board I’ve been cutting sections from, the artwork in progress on my easel, a detail shot showing the strips of imagery with art papers forming additional flowers and grassy texture, and the finished work.

 Joyful Beginnings strips

Joyful, in progress

Joyful Beginnings_finished


Sometimes I add in pieces of art paper, topographical maps or text to give texture and visual interest. “Still Rising” is a good example of that. There are pieces of blue ledger paper embedded in the image as well as sections of foreign currency in the mountains and sky, and solid colors in the scene that are strips cut from handmade papers.

Still Rising

Still Rising

Can you tell us about your still life work?

I’ve recently tried this technique on interior views instead of the big-view landscapes. It seems I’ve worked at a smaller size with those pieces since they are more intimate scenes… maybe I should try a big one next! I’ve always had an eye for composition and tend to have arrangements of objects on shelves and tables in my home, so making art of still life scenes is an easy move for me.



What draws your attention?

Sometimes it is color. A good composition always grabs me (3 photography classes in college and 30 years as a graphic designer have trained my eye to notice good eye flow and composition). Often a scene in nature just makes my heart sing, so I have to photograph it and try to make art that will cause that emotional reaction in the viewer.

Do you have a collection of pieces you constantly use?

I have some handmade art papers that always work well with landscape scenes, and I found a great online site to download topographical maps and other historical documents that work well for texture.

 Hidden Life_detail

Hidden Life, detail

I clip from yellowed book pages and several ledgers from the 1800-1900s that have beautiful handwriting and aged colors. I’m always taking photographs when I travel so that I have a vast reservoir of material to draw from when I sit down to start making art

 Hidden Life

Hidden Life

 Expand on colour and texture in your work?

I try to start with a photo that has a good range of color, and I usually saturate the colors in Photoshop to make a piece more vibrant. The filters I use add the look of texture with the “oil paint” or “dry brush” features, sometimes the art papers are textural, and the layering up of strips of imagery gives the pieces physical depth.

‘Sun Kissed’ and similar works expand on the importance of composition and sizing in this / these works?

 Sun Kissed

Sun Kissed

 Often, something is much more interesting when cropped tightly. Squares are not the usual cropping for landscapes, so I’ve experimented with 12” x 12” compositions and cropping for the strongest visual statement. “Sun Kissed” started with a photo of afternoon sun striking a bouquet on my dining table. Adding filters and combining the image strips abstracted it even more and made it quite exciting visually.

What are your feelings on the need to continually look for new techniques as an artist?

I think it is a must to keep challenging yourself and pushing the boundaries. I don’t think I’ve fully realized the possibilities with this art form and want to experiment more. I’ve done some totally abstract pieces with leftover strips of imagery and colored art papers that have the visual appeal of art quilts. I’ve created a few using black and white portraits as part of the compositions, and have just started doing still life compositions. There are a lot of things left to discover!

She Dreams of Flying

She Dreams of Flying 

Can you discuss the mounting of your work?

I worked with cradled panels (available from Ampersand and Dick Blick). They have a canvas surface available that works well for adhering the strips of paper and are firm (unlike canvas) for laying down the strips in straight lines.

 First Snow in Paradise_angle

First Snow in Paradise

I prefer to use the 2” deep panels to make the work stand out from the wall.

Lori at work

Contact details.



Lori Reed, Illinois, USA

Interview by Deborah Blakeley, January, 2016