May 22, 2024
May 22, 2024
Untitled, Commissioned by/Published in Litt Magazine, 2023
Found imagery and acrylic paint, 8.25 x 7 in.

Vanessa Saba's work blends found materials into simple yet powerful visuals, mixing old and new elements to explore themes of identity and perception. With a background rich in art, she uses bright colors and torn paper to shake up traditional forms. Her work encourages viewers to embrace life's uncertainties, offering new perspectives and pushing the limits of what's familiar.

Untitled, 2020
Found imagery and painter’s tape, 6 x 4.5 in.

My collage practice is one of essentialism, in which I distill found materials and complex narratives into minimal and evocative graphic statements. My interest in collage is born out of a curiosity for the permutability of meaning derived from visual relationships. With an inherent appreciation of abstraction and a nurtured depth of feeling, I strive to capture and conjure an emotional experience in my work.

Untitled, 2017
Vintage postcard and torn paper, 5.75 x 4.25 in.

I’m fascinated by relationships in life – the ways we relate to one another, to ourselves, to our environments. As we overlap with the world around us, we are changed. Collage embodies this fascination; you take one thing, you put it next to something else, and it is changed - it has new meaning, it invites new interpretations. There is no one way to look at something. Our existence is filled with this sort of ambiguity and possibility, and I think it’s delightful to remain curious and open in this way.

When working in collage, you’re working with a visual material that is already in existence, that is already saying and doing one thing. We could disregard it and move on, but in fact its existence doesn’t stop there, it can always be seen in new ways, it can always be seen again for the first time.

Untitled, 2018
Found imagery and acrylic paint, 5.75 x 4 in.

I grew up surrounded by art. My father is an artist, and his large, abstract paintings covered the walls of our home. My mother’s early career was spent in galleries and working for artists, and the pieces she acquired filled our home – prints, paintings, drawings, sculptures. This exposure was truly a glacier of influence that carved its way into my understanding of the world and deposited an inherent sensibility for art and an innate appreciation of abstraction. Watching my father go to his studio to paint every day, I wondered what he possessed, and I wasn’t always sure if I had it.

But my compulsion towards art-making was in fact clear at an early age and was encouraged. My father introduced me to the work of Robert Rauschenberg, and I found not just his work particularly influential but also his way of seeing and experiencing his world. He looked at the objects and materials around him with so much curiosity, such a purity of spirit. There’s so much to learn and be inspired by from this.

Untitled, 2018
Vintage postcard and acrylic paint, 5.75 x 4.5 in.

I don’t intentionally work with any visual themes, but I am always trying to get at something that is essential, regardless of the nature of the work. This essential quality can be one that is visual or one that is felt, but I find my process is ultimately always one of distillation. I’m interested in either the essential quality of a feeling or the essential quality of a material. Visually the outcome of this can be quite different – from very playful to very austere – but I’m often exploring how something can be communicated and conjured with minimal intervention.

Untitled, 2017
Vintage postcard and found imagery, 6 x 4 in.

Found photographs, vintage postcards, old periodicals, newsprint, colored paper, paint… How I source images depends on the nature of the work. If it’s personal work, I’ll use what I have on hand, which creates a certain amount of limitation that I really appreciate. “Work with what you have” is something I often remind myself of, and I enjoy the results this yields. In this case, the imagery doesn’t matter so much as how I intervene – the new contexts, relationships, and compositions that I’ll create.

When I’m working on a piece for a publication or a client, this process is often a bit different as I am essentially illustrating an aspect of a story. In this case, the photo research process is very important, as I search for imagery that starts to touch on a visceral feeling that I’m hoping to emphasize in the work.

Untitled, 2020
Vintage postcard and tape, 5 x 4 in.

Vanessa Saba is a collage artist and multi-disciplinary designer and art director. Her design practice includes book and editorial design, branding, art direction for photography, print and digital design. She is the creative director of the biannual magazine Mother Tongue. Her collages have been published in The New York Times Magazine, The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Baffler Magazine, among others. She lives in Brooklyn, NY with her daughter.

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For Your Viewing Pleasure

An additional selection of works by artists we have our eyes on.

Each week, we carefully select five artists whose remarkable talents and notable contributions to the art world deserve special recognition. As curators deeply involved in the contemporary art scene, we are excited to share these fresh discoveries with you.

AMY FEIGLEY-LEE is a contemporary artist from Detroit, Michigan. She earned her MFA in 2007 from Cranbrook Academy of Art with an emphasis in Sculpture. Her current studio practice has evolved to focus primarily on creating intricate collage pieces composed of found vintage wallpapers.

SARAH BAGSHAW is a surface pattern designer residing in Birmingham, UK. Her creative process encompasses a variety of handmade techniques, including drawing, painting, collage, and printmaking, all executed with a low-tech approach that emphasizes mark-making.

TREVOR BERNARDO is a multidisciplinary designer and creative consultant specializing in architectural design, interiors, product design and branding.

MIKAILA VON MERR is an artist whose work captures the melancholy beauty of Feminine presentation, reflecting the delicate gilded cage of beauty entrapped by its own allure. Her art, spanning textile, collage, and short films, appreciates the tactile and antique, rendering Old Hollywood's decaying dreams newly alluring.

STUDIO AIRPORT is an independent practice in graphic design and film exploring the progressive intersection of these two disciplines. Founded in 2011 by Bram Broerse and Maurits Wouters, Studio Airport exists of a close team of creatives.

Out and About

How and where to engage with collage in the world around us.
What to watch, read, and experience, as curated by the Collé team.


Eno by Gary Hustwit

Visionary musician and artist Brian Eno, known for producing David Bowie, U2, and Talking Heads and pioneering ambient music, reveals his creative processes in a groundbreaking generative documentary that changes every time it's shown.


Foam Magazine #66

MISSING MIRROR — Photography Through the Lens of AI is a project hosted by Foam, combining an exhibition, digital platform, and magazine. Together we look at the growing overlaps between art, technology, and society, exploring how the recent advancements in AI impact our relationship with the image, ourselves, and our perception of reality.


The Cool Cloud of Okayness by Tara Jane O'Neil

Tara Jane O'Neil is a composer, audio engineer and visual artist. She creates melodic and experimental music under her own name and has collaborated on recordings and on stages with artists like Hand Habits, Lower Dens, Little Wings, Mirah and Mount Eerie.