member of:Observers of the Interdependence of Domestic Objects and Their Influence on Everyday Life

This group has been active for a long time and has already made some remarkable assertions which render life simpler from the practical point of view. For example, I move a pot of green color five centimeters to the right, I push in the thumbtack beside the comb and if Mr. A (another adherent like me) at this moment puts his volume about bee-keeping beside a pattern for cutting out vests, I am sure to meet on the sidewalk of the avenida Madero a woman who intrigues me and whose origin and address I never could have known...
--Remedios Varo

(Slideshow is of Artwork by Remedios Varo)
By believing passionately in something that still does not exist, we create it. The nonexistent is whatever we have not sufficiently desired.
--Franz Kafka

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Recreating Reality

Catrin Weiz-Stein is a graphic designer living in Switzerland. Like the last amazing artist featured here, she specializes in collage using vintage photos, but her work takes place in Photoshop. She says she loves taking images apart and putting them together again her own way.

Family Portrait

So, the first thing I have discovered in thinking about collage is how difficult it is to put strange, unexpected things together, and not have them look like you just glued a pile of your favorite photos on the same page. And the images in this post all have the smooth, painstakingly-layered effect of oil paintings--which comes from the painstaking process of layering in Photoshop.
In Family Portrait, the husband’s jacket is open to reveal the feathers of his chest, the beautiful siren on his arm wears a flower-lined hat of wings, and they pose together with two children and a third on the way. On the way. The absurdity and surreal qualities of the family somehow blend right into the Renaissance style of the scenery and of the Siren’s face.

The siren wife and mother looks quite poised, very upstanding. But in mythology, it’s not the kindest women who take that form. Perhaps the to me obviously rakish personality of her husband led some poor maiden to call upon the power of a siren to take him in and destroy him. Though, in this portrait, he seems quite unaware of his dark fate.

So, maybe she really has settled down? Maybe she isn’t bent upon his destruction? The (hysterical) poem by Margaret Atwood seems apt here--or at least, I never miss a chance to pull it out:

Siren Song

This is the one song everyone
would like to learn: the song
that is irresistible:
the song that forces men
to leap overboard in squadrons
even though they see the beached skulls
the song nobody knows
because anyone who has heard it
is dead, and the others can't remember
Shall I tell you the secret
and if I do, will you get me
out of this bird suit?
I don't enjoy it here
squatting on this island
looking picturesque and mythical
with these two feathery maniacs,
I don't enjoy singing
this trio, fatal and valuable.
I will tell the secret to you,
to you, only to you.
Come closer. This song
is a cry for help: Help me!
Only you, only you can,
you are unique

At last. Alas
it is a boring song
but it works every time.

“Will you get me out of this bird suit?” she asks. Well, it seems like something this lady might say.

The Wishing Seat

The Wishing Seat takes us out of the sky and into the depths of the sea, where, in mythology, there are other ladies singing dangerous songs and reaching up from the depths to grab those sailors. This maiden, however, with her octopus tresses, seems happy to dream of her hero--to dream him (or her) into existence. I’ll just note here that when my hair does that, the effect isn’t half as beautiful.
Catrin has made several ladies who can create the whole world on their own:

The World
(The above image has been made into a Tarot card. Catrin says: “The woman symbolizes the world and the universe. She is a dancer, almost weightless and in harmony with her life.”)

Her Garden

The Voyage.

The Voyage was born from an old postcard of a child holding a drum which sparked her imagination. She replaced the face of the child, which she says represents the child inside all of us, added the bird, to represent opportunity, and created the rich colors. Then she filled the drum with life, experiences, possibility. Again, the creative power of dreams, the endless possibilities of the world...


Getting Wet

Catrin’s gorgeous works can be purchased on Red Bubble and Squidoo, and she was just featured in the May 2010 issue of Pink Panther Magazine.

Last Night, in My Dreams


  1. Zoe, it seems we must have similar taste in art. This artist and the one prior have totally blown my mind and made my day(s)! I keep coming back to look at them. I love the Margaret Atwood poem; it really made me smile! Thanks for sharing these artists.
    Also, I noticed that you like Remedios Varo, who is one of my favorites, along with Leonora Carrington, Leonor Fini, Dorothea Tanning, and of course, Frida. Is the Remedios varo book good? I was thinking about ordering it.

  2. thanks, scrybe! her artwork is really beautiful...

    sharmon, it sounds like we definitely have the same taste :) varo's work is something i can't get by without, and the book "unexpected journeys" is so good i carried it with me *everywhere* for over a year. i still take it with me on long trips. it is amazing; kaplan's writing really adds to the art, and the reproductions are gorgeous. i wholeheartedly recommend it, above all others!

  3. Thanks, Zoe, that answers my question! :)

  4. wow, some of the images really look like oil paintings.

  5. If only we could step into the world of these wonderful images*!*

  6. Interesting to see familiar types of components re-worked so plausibly into these images. I like them a lot.

  7. Wow! A new favorite for me! Really compelling artist, thanks for sharing.

  8. An incredibly sublime post my dear!!!