When it comes to being creative and artistic, it can be tough to know where to start. It often helps to have a guide or inspiration to serve as a jumping off point. Faina Lerman of Popps Packing in Detroit creates mixed media masterpieces. She’s going to walk you through the steps to make some art on your own.
- Matt medium
- Bristol board or watercolor paper
- Watercolor paint or gouache
- Drawing Materials of choice: pencils, markers, highlighters and pens.
- Collage cut outs (small pieces from magazines like national geographic, newspapers or fashion magazines.
- A cup of water
- Paper towel
- Small watercolor brushes
Step 1: cut out collage pieces to have on hand before you begin. Choose things that have interesting colors and shapes. Make sure to cut out shapes carefully and include details. Make the shapes interesting not just a square or a circle, it is fun to reconfigure some of the images. For example, cut out a zebra in the shape of a frog.
Step 2: create an atmospheric color field on your paper. This will be the background for the collage. Try not to over work it. Use a wash or watery mixture of the colors. Think of the sky or a foggy day.
Step 3: pick out a few collage pieces to arrange on the paper. Play around with the composition. Do not glue anything until you are completely happy with the arrangement.
Step 4: mix some matt medium with water. Using your small brush paint the medium on the back of the cut out. Cover it completely. Place the collage piece on the paper and give it a quick brushing over the top to secure it in place. Try to brush out all the wrinkles.
Step 5: Let it dry. This is a good time to start another. I work on multiple pieces at one time.
Step 6: draw some marks or designs on the paper to enhance the image or to give it some extra layers. This creates a nice added texture to the collage.
take a look at Faina’s outfit here: Carhartt Women’s Coleharbor Hoodie & Clarksburg Zip-Front Sweatshirt
If you know of vacant meatpacking plant in your neighborhood, you might consider converting it into a home and workspace. At least it worked out really well for the Detroit-based artists Faina Lerman and Graem Whyte. In 2007, the painter and performance artist, and her husband (a sculptor and architectural dabbler) seized the opportunity to buy the former Popps plant (later known as a cookie factory) built in the 1930s and rebirthed it into a bustling art center in the city’s Hamtramck neighborhood. Hamtramck is a culturally diverse city within a city. It was originally settled by German farmers, followed by a flood of Polish immigrants in the early part of the 20th century. Over the past thirty years a large number of immigrants (Yemenis, Bengali, Macedonian, Turkish, and Russian) to name just a few have taken up residence in Hamtramck along with a growing tide of young creative entrepreneurs. Since 2009, Graem and Faina have hosted seasonal indoor/outdoor installations, exhibitions and performances in the building where they also live in with their two young children. Popps Packing is not only a home and studio, it’s also an experimental arts venue aimed at promoting dialog and cultural exchange between the local, national and international communities through exhibitions, performances, workshops and artist residencies. In 2011, the duo purchased a house (Poppa Joe’s Guest House) and a house/storefront (Popps Emporium) across the street, further activating neglected spaces on the border of Detroit and Hamtramck, while providing additional housing and exhibition space for visiting artists. In 2012, they started a residency program that includes studio practice, research, architectural interventions and alternative systems projects. Popps Packing has been a self funded enterprise since it’s inception, relying on the resourceful handiness of Faina and Graem, lots of time/labor/material donations from their friends, odd jobs from clients, and small scale fundraising to keep things moving.
See what Faina’s wearing here: Carhartt Women’s Coleharbor Hoodie, Clarksburg Zip-Front Sweatshirt, Original-Fit Jasper Jeans, Sandstone Kenai Parka, C-Grip Knuckler Gloves, and Carhartt Women’s Rapid City Utility Work Apron