Elise Wehle is an American artist from California, who specialises in creating intricate mixed media collages of Portraits and landscapes. To create her collages she uses a combination of photo manipulation, paper layering and printmaking techniques. When all these techniques come together it makes a style that is very unique and personal to her.
In 2009 she was accepted to Brigham Young University, and was pretty unprepared for how competitive the art program would be as her school didn’t give many art lessons, but got through with support and hard work, graduating in 2012 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. She has been making art ever since. Before she started specialising in collages and printmaking Wehle was a painter but found painting very daunting. She found the many things she could do with paper incredibly interesting and she liked having the set boundaries of creating collages because it made her more creative when she had restrictions to fight against.
“Making art makes me conscious of my hands again, and all of my work requires time-intensive, redundant movements that remind me that not everything is as instantaneous as a click of a mouse. By weaving together paper, cutting lines, and folding shapes, I manipulate drawings, photos, and prints to create new landscapes for me to explore.” – Elise Wehle
Wehle uses paper in a clever way by cutting, folding and weaving it very carefully layering it all up to create interesting textured pieces. The process she goes through to create her collages starts with finding a photography that she likes and inspires her then transfers the image onto thick paper by using either a gel medium to transfer the image directly or intaglio. To create the patterns she uses a combination of punches and x-acto knives. Once the pattern is created she sometimes takes pieces of the original photo and pastes it back on top of the cut out pattern. To finish off she will go back in with a wet cloth and carefully remove more of the paper until it looks right.
I really like that by using all the techniques like embroidery and cutting patterns out of the old prints and photographs, creates texture and that it can completely change the feel of the image. Her inspiration comes from technology and layers of torn posters hanging on city walls. You wouldn’t think technology would be a big inspiration looking at her work but she does her art as way to get away from it. Unlike a lot of the contemporary art world today she wants her work to be beautiful as well as showing the concepts and ideas behind it.