Art is often experienced and perceived in the context of the final product. An artist works painstakingly on a piece, then proudly displays it for all to see in a gallery or museum exhibition. But what about the creative process that leads up to that finished product? This is what designer, illustrator and visual artist, Lyndsey Lee Denyer, aims to highlight in her first solo show, PEREGRINATION. Lyndsey is an active member in Portland’s creative community, having worked at record label, Hometapes, and with the Hand-Eye Supply team. Lyndsey’s use of found paper and eye for abstract shapes results in beautiful collages that are visually-stimulating, yet superbly balanced. In conjunction with the collages, Lyndsey has collaborated with Marc Faulkner on a second installment of their zine, which will also be available at the show. We had the chance to chat with Lyndsey and learn more about her background and inspiration:
E+E: We see you’re a Florida native—what brought you to Portland?
Lyndsey Denyer: My parents moved to Seattle while I was working on my undergrad in FL, so I was visiting the Northwest often. It all seemed like a dream with the mountains, the craft breweries, and the thriving music scene. The day I graduated I packed up my car and drove straight here. I justified the move by lining up an internship at record label Hometapes, (where I ended up working for four years). I also had intended to do postgraduate work at PNCA – which eventually I did, but in design rather than fine art.
E+E: Tell us a little bit more about your show. What was the inspiration behind it?
LD: The idea behind Peregrination was to wholly commit myself to the practice of making, and to be less concerned with the final product. I am drawn to the meditative aspects of working with found paper as it allows for a relatively free exercise in aesthetics, with its own unique challenges. I have an incredibly high tolerance for tedium, so sit me down with a 1969 Whole Earth Catalog and an x-acto knife and I’ll be happily occupied for hours. In the end, these works are a reflection on my explorations in process, but I am satisfied when I am able to strike a compelling balance between abstraction, the narrative images, and geometric shapes.
I am a collector of vintage books, magazines, and printed collateral, and so it made sense to make use of these collections in my work. The content of my collages are the result of the materials available to me at the time, and the images I am drawn to in the moment. I love tones of frivolity that can be found in decades-old publications, not to mention their tactile qualities like the printing and the aged paper stock. I have also enjoyed drawing and painting more lately, so integrating that into the collage has been exciting for me.
E+E: You also recently put out a zine with Marc Faulkner. What is the creative process like for you two?
LD: “You Relax” is the second volume in the zine series Marc and I work on together. For this volume, we chose photographs Marc shot while working for the forest service in SE Alaska, and combined them with collage elements from the Peregrination series. It’s really just a fun exercise where we can overlap our visual practices, and re-invent aspects from both of our work. We hope to continue to make one zine every couple of years, as a way to meaningfully document our work and lives together.
The process is pretty organic—together we chose the photographs we thought would lend themselves nicely to collage. I’ll play with them by adding the collage elements, and then I present them to Marc for feedback. We’ll sometimes sit and move things around together. I really enjoy working with him because we are able to do things that we would never think of as individuals. We think in such different ways, yet we really enjoy each other’s respective aesthetic taste.
The title, “You Relax” is a bit of an inside joke, and pokes fun at our process of working together, specifically my bossy lady tendencies.
E+E: Now that you’ve been living in Portland for five years (happy anniversary!), what is your favorite thing about this place?
LD: If I had to pick one thing it is definitely the St. John’s Parade. I also like Bunk sandwiches and the bluff.
Written by: Lauren Kodiak