Decomposition

As part of Mouth’s interest in the arts at Dartmouth, we feature exciting and creative student projects currently in the works. This issue, we’re thrilled to showcase the mixed-medium collage paintings of Danelle Finnen. Below this brief interview, you can click through pictures of her creations.

What’s your artistic process like?

I’ve been working with newspaper lately. I’ve been doing a lot of layering and scratching at the surface. I really like working with my hands; I think it’s a good outlet. What’s interesting is that violent marks and scratches can become delicate over time. I really like the transformation of a piece; how it comes together into a form or space. I usually have an idea in mind when I begin a piece, but if it ends up looking exactly how I thought it was going to, I get bored and don’t like it.

I really like the sense of documenting past events, the sense of wearing away over time. I’m interested in decomposition but also building up.

 

Why do you prefer working with newspapers? What are some challenges of the medium?

I brought a lot of articles back from Cairo from when I was there. A lot of newspapers I used were relevant to that experience. Recently, when I was looking through some newspapers here, I came across an article with Oregon in the headline. I grew up in Oregon, so it caught my attention, but it ended up being this horrible story about a double family tragedy. That story has been on my mind while I’ve been making the piece, even though the rest of the newspaper articles aren’t related to that. I like when that happens.

             I start with an idea, or a little bit of something I know I want to work with, or a certain feeling. I respond to it and layer it with other articles and scrape away parts of it.

 

What do you hope people take away from your pieces when they look at them?

 I guess I just hope that someone looking at one of my pieces feels something. We’re told to have specific meaning--but I really don’t want it to be any one thing. The things I enjoy most about my pieces are when someone wants to talk to me about it and feels one thing about it, a strong feeling of some sort. It may be what I was intending, or it may not be. Sometimes they’ll relay it back to me, and I didn’t think of it in that way, but it makes sense. When I throw myself in a piece, sometimes I become too close to know what I’m intending to put into it. I love it when that happens; when other people feel something that makes me see my own piece in a new way.