As is the custom on these pages I try to get some the back story behind the artist and their work by means of interviews… and we are fortunate to have connected with Sue Evans of Lilibot Design for a behind the scenes account.
Opinion8ed2: I guess a basic starter question is what first got you interested in the world of decoupage – was it the finished products that spoke to you or did you see someone decoupaging? (I figure if page can be a verb we can conjugate decoupage).
Sue: I don’t know that I started with “decoupage” but rather decorating with paper. It goes back to my passion for designing my environment, and love of mixing color, pattern, texture in a way that is not what you see every day. I always liked the idea of taking something old and unloved, and transforming it into something new. One of my early forays was using decorative paper on an old trunk to create a coffee table/plant table. The sun faded the paper, and the plants (and my sloppy watering) scuffed it up, but I was hooked, and have tried since then to improve my techniques.
Opinion8ed2: In terms of technique, did you receive formal training or were you “self-taught?”
Sue: Totally self-taught, but influenced by the best of what’s out there on the blogs.
Opinion8ed2: Can you point to some of the things that have influenced your style?
Sue: Travel, architecture, interior design, textiles, typography, Islamic art, Asian art, and logging untold hours in museums since I was knee-high to a grasshopper. Too many to list. Very eclectic. In the end, though, whatever the mix, I know that each piece must be coherent and stand on its own.
Opinion8ed2: Very interesting ingredients…People always ask songwriters what comes first, the music or the lyrics…since your designs are very thematic…do you set out with a particular “look” in mind or do peruse your huge catalogue of images to see what jumps out and calls to you?
Sue: I’m often inspired by an image or group of images that I want to work with. But there is also matching the images /themes to a given piece – when this is done well, it feels right; when I’m off in my matching, I consider the final piece to be less successful.
Opinion8ed2: If you wouldn’t mind, take us through the steps in making a typical Lilibot Design – from selecting the unsuspecting object to the complete makeover. In particular tell us about how you create unique digital images
Sue: The most important point about digital images is my vast library of out-of-copyright images (something north of 20,00 images at present. I like to combine, re-color, texturize, etc. images into what I call digital collages. But, often, a lot of the collage aspect is created as I’m working on a piece directly rather than on the computer.
Opinion8ed2: Wow, just curious how many mega bytes does 20,000 images add up to?
Sue: Just under 15GB.
Opinion8ed2: Yikes…So, many of your pieces are whimsical as are their titles…how do you come up with the names?
Opinion8ed2: I know that there is lots of down time while preparing most pieces…is it possible to estimate the amount of time involved?
Sue: Way too much time, but I’m not willing to stop until I feel the piece is done…is right. I’ve “decommissioned” a number of pieces at various stages of done-ness because I know that they aren’t coming together in a particularly interesting or coherent way.
Opinion8ed2: That must be an interesting dilemma for any artist, i.e., balancing your own sense of where to draw that line… when is it done? Is it “good enough”? Clearly not every piece will move an artist or satisfy them equally, and of course, the artist’s perception and/or drive for perfection won’t be the same as how others perceive their work. In any case, I haven’t seen a Lilibot Design I wouldn’t love to have in my house so you must be doing something right! Thanks for speaking with us.
Click on thumbnail images for an enlarged view that is zoomable. Pieces shown on this page are (from the top), Botanica, Desert Calm, Green Marble Cachepot, Flamingo at the Beach, Faux Bois, Dreams of Isfahan, and (below) Homage to Parzinger. Go to www.Lilibotdesign.com for complete collection.