The Freedom of Collage with Nicola Kloosterman

Kirsten McCreaINTERVIEWS

Collage artist Nicola Kloosterman

We are very excited to be sharing Nicola Kloosterman’s collage work in the August issue of Papirmass!

Nicola is an analog collage artist from the Netherlands who works with found imagery. Her subjects vary from fragmented female figures and faces to landscapes, the natural world and abstracts made with vintage paper and textiles cut from fashion magazines. Her collages explore concepts of (in)visibility, perception and feminine power.

Don’t delay – you have until July 31st to get in on this amazing mailing and receive a surprise print from Nicola!


Hi Nicola. Tell us about the artwork featured in Papirmass (not pictured).

This series, Bloom, is informed by my ongoing love for and fascination with the natural world in general, and flowers in particular. I love the femininity and fragility of flowers in bloom and I use them as a metaphor for feminine power in my work.  I am deeply attracted to the zen-like quality of old botanical illustrations that isolate a single bloom in rich detail. I paired these illustrations with contemporary cut-outs from fashion magazines. The resulting images explore the rich inner beauty of the mind and soul, which contrasts the superficial beauty of commercial images, and forms a reminder that we are all part of the natural cycle from seed to soil.

Collage artwork by Papirmass artist Nicola Kloosterman

What is your creative process?

I start with an idea of where I would like to go. This may be an exploration into colour and shape, or working a piece of found imagery that grabbed my attention, or even investigating a more conceptual idea. I usually start with a single image, shape, or colour and then introduce new pieces intuitively. I watch the interaction closely because every new (partial) image or shape carries its own information and creates a new dialogue. I follow this dialogue carefully, introducing and eliminating pieces until there is a spark in the conversation. When I work, I look to balance the conversation, while still leaving room for chance, observation, and the magical moment when multiple image elements combine to become a new narrative.

Collage artwork by Papirmass artist Nicola Kloosterman

What is your work about?

My work explores concepts of (in)visibility, perception and fragility. I like to play with the preloaded narratives that accompany the images I collage. By disrupting and reassembling a single image I am able to retell the narrative differently.

Recently, I have been taking the images I find to a more abstract level, stripping them of much of their initial meaning and using these pieces as building blocks of colour, texture and shape, with only a hint of the original image to reveal it’s previous function.

What is most important in your studio?

My scissors, scanner and of course all the treasures I bring home from thrift shops, garage sales and Ebay scores. If I have to choose one, scissors are my weapon of choice.

Collage artwork by Papirmass artist Nicola Kloosterman

Where do you work?

I work from a small attic studio in our house, but often relocate to the kitchen table with my laptop. I love and hate that my studio is in my home. I would love to share a studio with other creatives and artists, although working from home is very practical for me because I have three children. When need be, I can sneak upstairs for the odd out-of-office cut-up : )

How has your practice changed?

My practice is always evolving and that is why I love being a working artist. I love balancing commissions and personal work while exploring different mediums. I am currently screen-printing as a way to ‘grow’ the concept of collage from a fast cut-and-paste to the slow, laborious task of multicolour screen-printing.

Collage artwork by Papirmass artist Nicola Kloosterman

What is your favourite place in the world?

My garden in the sunshine with a cup of coffee or glass of wine. I am lucky to live close to the forest and the sea, both of which are close seconds.

What is great about being an artist?

The freedom to chase after your fascination and form that into something to share, debate, or reflect on. To share what makes us human is a privilege.

Collage artwork by Papirmass artist Nicola Kloosterman

What role do artists play in society?

Visual communication is everybody’s mother tongue. It is the role of artists to build on that language by observing, investigating and debating the elements that make us human. Artists are needed to create visual philosophies about how we live, with whom we identify, and what we value, which we pass on to the next generation to build upon.

Is creativity learned or innate?

Creativity is innate and everybody possesses it. Some are more fluent than others, but we are all creative beings.


Nicola Kloosterman is our August 2018 artist.
See more at nicolakloosterman.com