Based in London, Tagen Donovan, creates art that takes the form of colourful collages, usually inspired by fashion or culture. Her latest series is no exception, featuring visuals taken from several Chasseur issues, re-arranged into unique hand-crafted artworks. Read as we discuss everything from aesthetics and influences to current works, with the artist herself, in this exclusive interview.
Who is Tagen Donovan in a sentence?
Technically, Tagen Donovan is a mixture of two people named Stacey Elder and Don Donovan.
When did you realise that digital art was your calling?
It all started one day when I was about fifteen, I was introduced to Photoshop. It was to be the day that marked a long term love affair with editing software. I became transfixed by the multifaceted program as it allowed me to explore every possible idea that popped into my head. I would spend endless hours formulating and concocting different pieces, going in between ten ideas at a time. All in all, I realised that digital art making was my calling as I had never been so spellbound by a process before.
I still remain a huge advocate for the digital art movement to this day. However, as I have gotten a little bit older – my most recent work consists mainly of hand crafted collages (the only digital process they go through is being scanned onto a computer).
Experimentation is strongly associated with the core of your work. What are the key features you seek for in most visuals and what intrigues you in them?
Yes, experimentation is a very significant element in my process. I never have a set agenda for an overall aesthetic, I usually conclude a piece through efforts of trial, error and embracing mistakes here and there.
I’m very visually wired and whilst seeking out appealing features in visual material, I am strongly attracted to: a strong use of colour, composition of an image, texture and form.
Do you find the creative process to be completely organic or are you in constant search for inspiration?
Although its probably a very recycled answer, if I am being perfectly honest, I am always inspired by anything and everything around me. Inspiration is never far as it is everywhere. For instance I am currently fixated with the netted fruit packaging that oranges and limes come in. Although, I do have a constant supply of inspiration, there are some occasions where certain ideas become a little bit lacklustre! However, that usually means there is an idea quietly cooking away somewhere.
Your latest art project, involves some of our favourite shoots from various Chasseur issues. How did you choose the images and what was it like working on them?
I was immediately attracted to the photo stories that I could mentally break up and dissect into visually pleasing colour groups and formations. Working on the images at hand, I liked the aspect of the change in subject matter as I tend to reference the female figure whilst concocting a final piece, simply because the female body has interesting curves and structures to work with whilst mapping out a collage. Working with images that were in keeping with male forms was interesting to play with, as it served for a challenge and overall it made for a visually different aesthetic.
What should we expect next?
My main goal at the moment is to start curating and exhibiting a select array of artists and to also host a few personal exhibitions in the process. I will also be making prints to sell that will consist of my main body of work, these will be readily available very soon! I also have a zine formulating in the pipeline somewhere to.
Aaron Henry Lynch | CHASSEUR ISSUE #5
Elijah Tyedmers | CHASSEUR ISSUE #7
Oliver Beard | CHASSEUR ISSUE #7
Sen Mitsuji | CHASSEUR ISSUE #8