Patti – Hi, Marion, thanks so much for doing this interview with me.
No, I was born in Cologne, then moved to Bremen when I was 9 years old and then moved on to Münster to study at the university there when I was 19. Münster has one of the biggest universities in Germany though it´s a middle-sized town with 300.000 inhabitants. It´s quite pretty here, but most of the "old" buildings have been rebuilt after they´ve been destroyed in the war, so there´s not so much original architecture as you would think at first sight.
We have all four seasons here without any extremes usually: summer usually doesn´t have more than 30 °C (86 °Fahrenheit), and winter frost doesn´t go much under - 20 °C (- 4 °F). We have snow almost every winter, but not as much as in the southern parts of Germany. No earthquakes, no hurricanes, no flooding - it´s quite safe to live here.
It´s something I have always done - I didn´t go to kindergarten but always drew and painted and glued ... As a child, I liked to spend my pocket money for books about all sorts of craft and needlework, and I tried a lot of those techniques. I´ve never thought of being or becoming an artist though, and I wouldn´t do that today either.
I started stamping in 2000, and it seems like a natural process to me that I went on incorporating other techniques. I didn´t like collage at school: We used images from magazines to put them together to finished artwork that I didn´t like because it wasn´t my style. So it took a while to explore that there are other ways of using collage that really please me and that can be a way to express my feelings and thoughts.
I had seen digital art at some friends´ blogs for a while and wasn´t sure if I liked it, but I´ve been quite sure that it wasn´t the right thing for me. On the other hand, I had Photoshop installed on my computer, and - remember that I´ve always loved to learn new techniques - really wanted to get to know its secrets. Then I won a seat in an online class with Marie Otero about two years ago, and I´ve had so much fun during the four weeks of the class, and I learned so much that I just couldn´t stop - so I went to the library and read many books about photoshop and digital collage, and I´ve found a lot of interesting tutorials online. I did another online class with Jessica Sprague one year ago because I think that online classes are fantastic if you want to learn digital art. It´s not easy to find your own style though as many classes and most of the digi stuff online are made for scrapbookers to use with your family photos. It took a while to learn that all those techniques to enhance your photos with PS could also be used for digital collages - because I knew from the beginning that it were digital collages that I wanted to do. I´m now creating for Tumble Fish Studio and Hidden Vintage Studios, and by doing this and staying in contact with their creative teams and the Deviant Scrap forum, I´m learning on daily, so I hope I´ll improve my digital skills in the future - there´s still such a lot to learn for me!
Yes, I like to mix and match physical and digital art. I like to scan my own physical creations to work on them digitally (to make new headers for my blog for example) or to use digitally composed backgrounds to stamp and collage on. And I´m using a lot of digital images from several designers as collage images for my mixed media artwork.
I just can´t make a choice. I try to use the techniques that fit my feelings best and make it possible to express what I want to say. When I own the perfect rubber stamps for a theme I´m working on, then I´ll probably incorporate them, even if I´m doing a digital piece. And if I´ve just found a magazine clipping that inspired me to work on something, I will glue it down, paint and stamp over it and add other images until I`ve told my story. Telling stories is what I`m always trying to do, no matter what technique I´m using. I don´t like to do pieces that are just decorative but almost always try to tell a story, express my feelings, or just illustrate some lyrics or a quote.
I´ve always admired Teesha Moore´s Zetti style and love to use her stamps and images but try not to mimic her or any other artist´s style. That´s what fascinates me about stamping: you´re using pre-made images but use them in your personal way, or better: in a lot of different ways, and the challenge is to always make the result your personal piece of artwork though you´ve been using stamps and embellishment that everybody else could have used. Many stampers try to make crisp, clean cards, whereas I always prefered messy but expressive and personal pieces.
The page above builds a character from pieces that didn´t belong together before I decided to combine them, which is a characteristic of Zetti style, but there isn´t much black and white in this piece or any borders around the page, so it doesn´t look so very Zetti to me ;-) All images used here are from Tumble Fish Studio, so they´re digital collage images, but I´ve used them on a physical moleskine page here: I´ve printed them out, glued them down, painted around and over them and added some journaling. I really like art journaling (though I´m not doing it daily), and I like both physical and digital art journaling.
I use Photoshop (German version 8.0.1 which is similar to PS3 I think). My favourite thing about it may be playing with blending modes and textures, but as these both make massive changes, I don´t use them too much on my artwork for creative teams. I also love using PS brushes (including self-made brushes) and am always trying several fonts before I decide which one fits best.
I´ve had pieces of artwork in several magazines during the last 8 years such as Somerset Studio, The Stampers´ Sampler, Artful Blogging, or Rubberstampmadness (you´ll find details listed on my blog), but these have all been stamped or mixed media pieces - I didn´t dare to send digital art for publication yet.
I´m an avid blogger, posting quite often, and I love to get in contact with my readers. I´m even hosting an annual international ATC swap on my blog that´s open for everyone, and that´s another great way of getting to know my readers and followers. You´ll find my blog here: http://bockel24.blogspot.com.
You can also find me at Flickr here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/50492380@N00/
and here at Creative Souls of course.
I love late medieval Dutch and German painters such as Rogier van der Weyden and van Eyck, as well as most Italian renaissance painters, admiring their use of texture and colours and their well-balanced designs. But the artists that inspire me for my own artwork are usually modern artists like Max Ernst, Paul Klee, Pablo Picasso, René Magritte and many others.
Being forced to listen to music that I hate - like musicals or operetta, and see people chewing chewing-gum. Weird, I know.
If I could pick an artist who has passed, I´d choose Max Ernst, but if it must be someone alive I´d go with Kaffe Fassett maybe whose fabulous colourful knitting designs I´ve always admired, or with Anselm Kiefer or Christian Boltanski.