Collage & Illustration Residency – Orlando


Collage & Illustration Residency – Orlando: A Biography

at Kolaj Institute
9 February-1 March 2024

A four-week, virtual/online residency

About the Residency

During the Collage & Illustration Residency – Orlando: A Biography, selected artists will embark on a creative exploration of Virginia Woolf’s 1928 groundbreaking work, examining themes of identity, transformation, and the fluidity of time. This virtual residency, part of Kolaj Institute’s ongoing Collage & Illustration project, seeks to bring together a dynamic group of artists who are passionate about merging art, literature, and the human experience. The resulting illustrations will be published alongside Orlando: A Biography, allowing artists to bring a fresh, contemporary perspective to this timeless narrative. A curated selection of artwork will also be exhibited at Kolaj Fest New Orleans 2024.

Orlando: A Biography narrates the extraordinary life of the titular character, who experiences centuries of existence, transitioning from male to female along the way. As Nancy Bernardo writes, “Orlando is a unique book that crosses the boundaries of gender roles and relationships, paralleling Woolf’s own complex feelings of heterosexual conformity, her role as a wife, and her affair with Vita Sackville-West.” Woolf’s exploration of gender, time, and self-discovery creates a world and a character that is truly “transhistorical, transsexual, translinear, and transient.”

During this project-driven virtual residency spanning four weeks, artists will collaboratively produce a series of collages that capture the essence of Orlando’s journey. As a group, participants will engage in discussions, analyze narrative nuances, and explore visual representations that resonate with a 21st-century audience. The residency will conclude with a deadline scheduled a month after the residency ends for the finished illustrations, allowing artists ample time to immerse themselves in their creative process and develop their unique interpretations.

Nancy Bernardo and Christopher Kurts will lead the residency, encouraging collaboration and fostering discussions around Woolf’s masterpiece. Bernardo will share insights on using collage as an illustrative medium, exploring its intersection with the contemporary illustration marketplace. Throughout the residency, these experienced artists and educators will provide guidance, feedback, and support, creating a collaborative and nurturing environment for participating artists. 

Participating Artists

Kolaj Institute is excited to announce the eleven artists from Spain, Kuwait, the Czech Republic, and across the United States who were selected to participate in this residency.

Orlando by Kathryn Geismar
90″x42″; graphite, ink, and grommets on Duralar and paper; 2023. Courtesy of the artist.

Kathryn Geismar is an artist and psychologist. She is the recipient of two Mass Cultural Visual Art Fellowship Grants, residencies at the Vermont Studio Center and the Foundation House, and numerous awards. Her work has been featured in the New Talent, New England at the St. Botolph Club in Boston, the Danforth Museum in Framingham, MA, and the Bristol Art Museum in Rhode Island. Cate McQuaid in the Boston Globe wrote: “Kathryn Geismar’s portraits of gender-queer and identity-fluid young adults – all people she knows, including her own child – are painted on layers of clear film, simultaneously concealing and revealing. Some, on Tyvek, hang suspended from the wall; they won’t be pinned down. Their shifting, labile structures reflect how Geismar’s subjects construct their identities on their own terms and how her effort to witness them is a work in progress.”

It Only Takes a Spark by M.M. Dupay
11.5″x9.375″; collage and colored pencil; 2020. Courtesy of the artist.

M.M. Dupay is a Teaching Professor of Studio Art and First Year Program at Bowling Green State University in Ohio. Since 2006, she has taught classes across the first-year curriculum, as well as Contemporary Practices, Art in Context (BA capstone class), and interdisciplinary art experiences. They received a Bachelor of Art degree in Studio Art and Art History from Marietta College and a Master of Fine Art degree from Bowling Green State University with a focus in mixed media and collage. Her making practices and research focus on questioning positions and structures of “otherness” and shifting dialogues across contexts. She works primarily with found materials and enjoys creating collages and mixed media assemblages and installations. Her collages have been published as book covers (on Instances of Head Switching and Sexy Like Us: Disability, Humor, and Sexuality). She has received an Ohio Individual Artist Fellowship Award.

Park Bench Sleepers by Maryam Hosseinnia
photography and collage; 2022. Courtesy of the artist.

Maryam Hosseinnia is a graphic design educator at the American University of Kuwait. Raised in Iran and the United States and living and working in Kuwait since 2007, her cross-cultural background influences her worldview and serves as a rich source of inspiration in her creative endeavors, infusing her work with depth and resonance. Storytelling lies at the core of Hosseinia’s creative practice. Drawing from her personal experiences and the universal themes of resilience and adaptation, she crafts narratives that resonate deeply with viewers. Her work transcends traditional boundaries, encompassing many aesthetic disciplines such as graphic representation, installation, digital collage, and typography. This multidisciplinary approach allows Hosseinia to explore the nexus of art and design, creating immersive visual experiences that provoke introspection and evoke emotion. Hosseinia’s work has been featured in group exhibitions worldwide, including in Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates, China, South Korea, and the United States.

Safi and Felix re-united by Rebecca Steiner
15″x10″; collage constructed from cut-and-pasted printed paper; 2023. Courtesy of the artist.

Rebecca Steiner is a collage artist from Lyme, Connecticut. Steiner’s background is in art history, with professional experience at galleries and museums, as well as creating and operating a crowd-sourced photography project “The Average Joe Photo Show.” Using images sourced from current and vintage periodicals and books, placed alongside found household ephemera, Steiner’s collages explore visual codes and perceptions of taste in the social construction and fashioning of gender and identity through the lens of domesticity, nostalgia, fashion, and style. Playing with art historical and cultural imagery, theatrical narratives celebrate tropes of beauty, desire, and extravagance. They invite the viewer to indulge in the moment on display and to disconnect through a dream world fantasy while reflecting on the complexity and legacy of stereotypes and privilege. Steiner participated in the Fall 2023 Kolaj Institute Illustration Residency to reinterpret Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus” (publication forthcoming, Spring 2024). Her work has been featured in Kolaj Magazine, and in gallery group exhibitions including The Every Woman Biennial 2024, at MAPSpace (Port Chester, NY), the Bristol Art Museum (Bristol, RI), and in the ongoing holiday project “Miss Florence’s Artist Trees” at the Florence Griswold Museum (Old Lyme, CT).

Fleishfarben I by Justyna Tuchorska
11.22″x7.8″; paper, digitally copied newspaper; 2023. Courtesy of the artist.

Justyna Tuchorska is an artist and activist born in Poland and settled in Prague, Czech Republic. A 2020 graduate of the Academy of Art and Design in Wrocław, she works mainly in the fields of collage, costume, and textile art. Her works are centered around the topics of body, sexuality, and spirituality, combining the love of history with a commitment to radical feminism. Tuchorska often works with vintage porn and erotica as a way to reflect on changing attitudes towards gender, sex, and bodily autonomy over centuries. Her artistic practice is strongly informed both by her Eastern Bloc legacy and her reproductive justice activism.

REFLECT REFRACT by Carolyn Schlam
30″x42″; oil, cut papers, fabric, jewelry, poem, wood; 2021. Courtesy of the artist.

Carolyn Schlam is a painter, sculptor, glass artist, and author. Her current work is primarily figurative and executed in oil, ink, mixed media, collage, wood, and glass. Schlam studied painting post-graduate with Norman Raeben in his studio in Carnegie Hall. Mr. Raeben was the son of the Yiddish writer Sholem Alecheim, a student of Robert Henri, author of The Art Spirit. Schlam studied glassmaking at Urban Glass in Brooklyn. She has also studied wood sculpture at the University of New Mexico and participated in numerous workshops. Schlam is the author of The Creative Path: A View from the Studio on the Making of Art, published by Skyhorse Publishing in 2018, a treatise on the creative process from psychological, philosophical, and practical points of view, and The Joy of Art: How to Look At, Appreciate and Talk About Art, a full-color volume on the subject of art appreciation from an artist’s lens. This book is being sold worldwide in English and has been sold to publishers in China, Taiwan, and Korea for translation. Two new books on art are under contract: The Zen of Art: With Notes on the Art of Life will be released by Shanti Arts Publishing in March 2024 and the sequel to The Joy of Art, titled More Joy of Art, will be released by Skyhorse Publishing on January 14, 2025. Her writing and artwork have been published in many literary magazines; in 2024 her work appeared on the cover of The Woven Tale Press literary magazine, and in Club Plum, Memoir Magazine, Mask Literary, San Antonio and Parliament Reviews, and others. In 2013, Schlam was named one of the finalists in the Smithsonian Museum Portrait Competition and her work, Frances at 103, was exhibited at the Museum and was subsequently acquired by the Smithsonian. In 2024 she was one of 12 artists selected for an exhibition about the intersection of art and music at the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia and for a sculpture exhibition at Annmarie Art Center in Maryland, a Smithsonian Museum. Her work has been exhibited at many museums and galleries nationwide, and she has received numerous prizes, grants, and honors. Carolyn Schlam lives in southern California.

Duetting Venus by Rowan Eriksson
48″x36″; mixed media; 2023. Courtesy of the artist.

Rowan Eriksson, a Seattle-based painter, embarks on a unique artistic journey that has transformed from a classical foundation into the vivid realm of pop art. As an active member of the LGBTQIA+ community, Rowan’s narrative is deeply intertwined with their upbringing in a conservative southern commune, shaping not only their perspective but also fueling a profound curiosity about the influence of social media as a potent tool for disseminating ideas and shaping public perceptions, particularly within the queer community. Their creative path has led them from pursuing comics as a medium for narrative expression to their current focus on collage painting, weaving together diverse influences and storytelling techniques to create vibrant and thought-provoking artworks.

Untitled by Seoryung Samantha Park
11″x8.5″; digial illustration; 2019. Courtesy of the artist.

Seoryung Samantha Park is a Korean American artist who combines culture, language, and visual art to create her work. Her art is inspired by her mixed Korean and American background, and she’s skilled at blending these influences. Distinguished by its interdisciplinary nature, Park’s art transcends medium constraints, allowing her to explore a diverse spectrum of creative expressions, from drawing to writing and beyond. Her artistic focus revolves around the interplay between language and visual art. She passionately delves into the moments when writing transforms into drawing, and vice versa, conveying the intricate nuances of language through visual form. Park’s academic journey underscores her commitment to artistic growth. She earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Illustration at Parsons The New School of Design in New York City, honing her skills in visual arts. Subsequently, she pursued a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Interdisciplinary Art at Washington State University, where her artistry expanded into new horizons. Currently, as a Career-Track Assistant Professor in the Digital Technology and Culture department at Washington State University, Park not only continues her artistic journey but also imparts her knowledge and passion to aspiring artists, contributing significantly to the digital technology and culture domain.

Do Not Exceed Image Area by Whitney Humphreys
18″x14″; found image collage on paper, image transfers, and drawings on paper, board; 2022. Courtesy of the artist.

Whitney Humphreys is a San Francisco Bay Area artist and teacher. Her research-based, multi-media practice fuses collage with traditional printmaking, fiber art, and installation in works that address how visual culture and information technologies influence the production of gender identity. She graduated from San Francisco Art Institute’s Dual Degree program, receiving an MA & MFA, where she earned awards in Printmaking, metal sculpture, and thesis writing achievements. She is currently leading Printmaking courses at UC Santa Cruz and Graphic Arts courses at Laney College. She has exhibited throughout the Bay Area and across the U.S. during her career as an artist and instructor, most recently with a solo show entitled “Heavenly Bodies” at the Vanitas Contemporary Gallery in San Francisco.

Getting Free by Jean Dobbs Fonvielle
10″x6″; collage on book cover; 2022. Courtesy of the artist.

Jean Dobbs Fonvielle lives and works in Wilmington, North Carolina, where her mixed media collage debuted at Cameron Art Museum’s State of the Art exhibit in 2022. In 2023, 15 of her pieces were selected for a group show at Soda POP Gallery, a Wilmington gallery dedicated to showcasing emerging and established artists. Her hand-cut collages and mixed media collages are held in private collections in New York, North Carolina, and Arizona.

Motherhood by Mercedes Jones
15.7″x15.7″; hand-cut magazines; 2022. Courtesy of the artist.

Mercedes Jones, a BFA graduate from the University of Montevallo, now resides in Spain, drawing from her global experiences in Germany, Japan, Sicily, and Brazil to connect with universal themes found in herself and adopted communities. Her collage art, primarily analog in nature with found materials, meticulously combines elements until a meaningful narrative emerges. Alongside collage, Jones explores identity through figure drawing. As a nonbinary American navigating life abroad, they analyze societal boundaries, intertwining themes of womanhood, gender, connection, the American suburban dream, and sexuality. Collage and figure drawing serve as Jones’ dynamic mediums, challenging limits, and provoking contemplation. They have exhibited locally in Madrid and Toledo, Spain, and in international festivals such as CutOut Collage Festival 2023.

About the Faculty

Nancy Bernardo

Nancy Bernardo currently lives in Rochester, New York and has been a practicing graphic designer for 22 years. She received her MFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and has been an educator for 14 years. Bernardo’s work has been commissioned for book cover designs such as: Checking In/Checking Out (NO Books, 2010), New Orleans Review Art + Literary Magazine (2009-2014), Deconstructing Brad Pitt (Bloomsbury Press, 2011 and discussed in Kolaj #11) and History of Design: Beyond the Canon (Bloomsbury Press, 2018). Bernardo has been recognized and awarded honors through Graphis Design Annual, Print Regional Design Awards, Design Observer 50 Books 50 Covers, HOW In-House Design Award, HOW Best of International Design and STA 100. Her work has also been exhibited in Rochester, New Orleans, Seattle, Chicago, New York City and in the United Kingdom.

Christopher Kurts

Christopher Kurts is a storyteller and artist in New Orleans, Louisiana. He is the Coordinator for Kolaj Institute, where he has organized artist labs, residencies, workshops and forums which have often led to exhibitions and publications. In this role, Kurts acted as the Art Director for Kolaj Institute’s Oh, Money! Money! by Eleanor H. Porter, illustrated and interpreted by contemporary collage artists. His own work recently appeared in the exhibition, “Empty Columns are a Place to Dream” which debuted in August 2021 during the 53rd Annual Birr Vintage Week & Arts Festival in Birr, County Offaly, Ireland. In January 2022, Kolaj Institute published a book about the project and the exhibition traveled to the Knoxville Museum of Art in Knoxville, Tennessee. Kurts is also the co-founder and lead organizer for The Mystic Krewe of Scissors and Glue, a group of creatives in New Orleans who meet monthly to collage, converse and foster community. Along with the Krewe, Kurts helped organize “Unfamiliar Vegetables”, a group exhibition for Kolaj Fest New Orleans in July 2019, which was later published as a book.