Fresh, Spontaneous Energy


Spotlight on Collage Trading Card Artist Sara Willadsen

Working mainly with paint and various site-specific found materials, Sara Willadsen’s collages explore concepts of abstract spaces and structures guided by her surroundings. She writes, “I make pictures that satisfy my curiosity in aesthetics and found materials. Combining these articles with reappropriations of my own work allows me to employ past patterns and marks as prompts for new structures and environments.” Her collage, Sunset, is featured in Collage Artist Trading Cards Pack 7.

Packs of Collage Artist Trading Cards are a tool for discovering contemporary, fine art collage. Each card is a full colour, 5.5” x 3.5” postcard with rounded corners. An example of an artist’s work is on the front of the card and the artist’s public contact information is on the back.

We asked Willadsen some questions about her work.


Who are you?

I am a visual artist currently living in Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin. I also work part-time as a graphic designer at a nearby manufacturing company. Besides making and looking at art, I enjoy working out, drinking coffee and spending time with my cat, Bear.


Your collage, Sunset, is included in Collage Artist Trading Cards Pack 7. How did it come about?

This piece was created very quickly alongside four or five other collages. I typically work on multiple pieces at once so I can keep a fresh, spontaneous energy going and not get stuck on one piece for too long. I also do a lot of “wandering” from project to project in my studio and sometimes a particular piece will grab my attention and I will immediately start working on that one. As with much of my work, there is no grand concept behind Sunset. Pieces are guided by formal/aesthetic elements (typically colour) and specific moods those visuals evoke. These sentiments are generally tied to memories and past experiences.

Aside from your other work, Sunset is fairly minimal.

I am practicing a lot of restraint in this piece. I sometimes overwork a piece (adding too many elements when collaging) and the freshness that was initially there is lost. Sunset is a collage where I combined four different elements (without dwelling too much on it all), quickly made some gestural marks and moved on to another piece. I had just started using a lot of darker papers as a base for my collages and was drawn to the way the paint marks on the orange paper glowed when placed over the black. It gave the impression of a sunset so I made a couple more decisions to carry that concept further.


What are you working on these days?

I am currently working on similar pieces–invented landscapes and interiors–on unusually shaped surfaces. Square and rectangle formats were starting to get repetitive and limiting for me and I wanted more of a prompt when drawing and gluing materials down. I enjoy building surfaces (panels) and letting the shape of a piece guide what goes on the surface.


See more of Willadsen’s work on her Kolaj Magazine Artist Directory page. You can also see and buy her work from her online portfolio: HERE. She is represented by Frank Juarez Gallery, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, which also handles sales and other inquires.

Images: (top to bottom)

Focus Pulls
12″x12″; mixed media on panel; 2016

Gnip Gnop
22″x24″; mixed media on panel; 2016

9”x12”; ink, gel pen, graphite, acrylic on paper; 2015

untitled collage