The hand cut/digital collage world of Brisbane artist Madbutt

The hand cut/digital collage world of Brisbane artist Madbutt

An Aussie artist taking her wares to the world.

Madbutt is a Brisbane-based artist, who if we told you anymore about right now would defeat the purprose of this entire article. So we'll let her do it amogst some examples of her work, which if you dig you can check out at an exhbition in Collingwood called 'Primary Arcade' from February 17 (info/details HERE).


21 / F / BNE.

Where are you now? What are your immediate surroundings?

I’m at a friend's apartment in Kangaroo Point, Brisbane. Your everyday inner city apartment with a beautiful view of the Story Bridge Hotel. Euphoric Queensland!

Please describe a typical day:

I don’t have a lot of routine in my life right now, sometimes I am here in BNE or NYC. No two days are the same, which I love. Having the ability to travel for work is amazing and I am incredibly blessed to have the opportunities that are offered to me as an artist. The only thing that’s the same is that I will wake up and check my email and social media pages everyday. My sleeping pattern changes a lot when I am working with clients that are in different timezones or travelling. Depending if I have a commission or an exhibition I will be working on concepts for future collages and trying to find new images that provoke my mind.

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I like to dedicate certain times of the week to art research where I learn about new techniques, artists, styles and mediums. I like to spend time at the library looking through photo archives of Australian and American cultural history. Somedays I might go around to local antique stores and check the vintage materials (magazines, posters etc). I look online for people giving away or selling new materials daily.

So, I am usually spending my time picking up vintage materials or replacing tools (usually xacto scalpel blades) that I need for future works.

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What mediums do you use? Do you like to use many or do tend to use the same tools again and again?

At the moment I am experimenting with hand cut and digital collage using mixed media. I use my laptop when I am travelling and in between hand cut works. I use an application called Pixelmator, it’s a cheap Photoshop program without all the bells and whistles. I enjoy using this because it means I am keeping it simple without using effects and the works are still inline with a normal collage cut and paste style.

When I’m doing hand cut collage I use an xacto scalpel, archival glue, a ruler, pencil and cutting board. I have used different paints in the past but I feel as though I could have more fun using this medium with larger works. My hand cut collages are all original, so they are one offs. Once a cut or paste is made you can’t go back on it. I try to hold off on using vintage materials until I am 100% sure that I have a great concept to work with.

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Where do the ideas for your work come from? Is there a particular time or place in your life that seems to generate a lot of your ideas?

Usually when I am happy and in a big city I make the best works - so trying to constantly fulfill that need for spontaneity and excitement can be difficult in BNE. It can be exhausting and counterproductive at times. But I like I said no two days are the same with me. I constantly need change to be creative.

A lot of my works feature women from popular culture (Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, Bettie Page, etc). I love the female body and how each woman has a different shape and aura to them. I believe this has stemmed from my love for female nude portraiture but also my fascination with feminism and societies set foundations for women.

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I also create topical works that are inspired by current events and world affairs such as the destruction of the Great Barrier Reef and the Middle East/Syrian conflict. I want these works to put out a positive message that life isn’t about who you are and what you look like, but it’s what you do with the time you have; the internet has created the ability for us to be open with our communication and spread messages faster than ever before.

Who/what inspire you and your work the most?

Being able to take someone out of their everyday life for a moment and be somewhere else is one of my main inspirations, but also having other artists and followers message me and say, “Hey, I’m doing collage now! Thank you for creating these works and inspiring me...” That really motivates and inspires me to do more complex and diverse collages.

Galleries and museums are my favourite place to be for inspiration if everything else fails. Nothing better than white walls and fine art. I am always searching for new exhibitions or things I want to be immersed in, it’s the only time where I truly live in the moment and I present my authentic self to those I am around - I feel most comfortable there.

What have you been listening to lately? Is music something that is just playing constantly while you work?

I am a massive fan of Boogs (Revolver resident DJ) and Soulwax, so I am always pumping their  tracks. I generally to listen to mixes that go for an hour to two hours (Deep House London, Robot Heart at Burning Man and etc). My go-to artists at the moment are: Vanilla, Ccolo, Applebottom, Digitalism, Notorious B.I.G, Wu-Tang (I actually have C.R.E.A.M. tattooed on my foot), Sebastian Tellier, Peaches, Anderson. Paak, Santigold, Deftones, The Streets, Coco, Action Bronson, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, Florence & The Machine, Lana Del Rey, Groove Armada, D.O.N.S., Aaliyah, Girl Talk, Falcons, XXYYXX and of course, Flume.

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What is something new you have noticed or learned recently?

I have recently learnt that I am easily enabled and triggered. Learning to control and channel that energy into my art has been not been easy but I am getting there.

What was the best piece of advice you have ever received?

Well, the best advice I have ever received was while I was living in Sydney in 2014. I worked in the beauty industry and had the best advice of my life from a makeup artist trainer who said, “Go buy a visual diary, pens and anything else you want. Draw in it. I think this would be great for you!”. If I didn’t take her advice I wouldn’t be doing what I am today, it lead me to discovering collage.

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Can you suggest three artists/illustrators/creatives we should check out?

@BNECollageClub - I only joined in the middle of last year. Members host collage exhibitions and workshops around Brisbane and I really enjoyed being apart of their end of year show last year. Harley (@hb_r) who organises everything really deserves so much credit and praise for all the work she’s done for us.

@TaxCollection - Max (@maxfromtax) and Tanner (@tannerfromtax) are one of my favourite Instagram duos, they curate a really beautiful Instagram feed and give exposure to artists who may not have the opportunity otherwise.

@PrimaryArcade - If you are living in BNE, SYD or MELB and want to stay up to date on exhibitions, opportunities and other art things, I definitely recommend following them.

What are your favourite and the best things to do in the city that you live in?

I enjoy spending time in the West End/Southbank area. I enjoy walking around GoMA (Gallery of Modern Art) and the library finding new archives to collage with. Usually once I’m done I get a juice from Fat Carrot and a philly cheesesteak from PJ Steaks (the triple cheese is amazing, I highly recommend).

Thanks a lot for you time! Any last words/shout outs?

Come to my next group show in Melbourne at Budd St Gallery in Collingwood - Opening night is on February 17th starting at 6:30pm. If you can’t make it to the opening night no worries, it’s on until the 3rd of March 2017.

For anyone who wants to do anything in life, especially art, keep at it. You’ve got this! As long as you believe in yourself, other people will too.


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