Artist Spotlight

How Amanda Hobbs Finds Comfort Through Art



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Amanda is a paper huntress-gatherer-weaver, residing near Edmonton in Alberta, Canada. She works under the name Mixed Matter Collage, exploring inner landscapes as a mindful practice towards her mental well being. Amanda believes wholeheartedly in the healing, interconnecting power of art and enjoys collaborating with other creatives. You can often find her in her introvert happy places: with her husband and two dogs, enjoying a walk in nature, thrifting or with her nose in a book.

WHAT IS YOUR CREATIVE STORY?

I’m a multi-passionate introvert, always lost in my imagination.  Having passion projects on the side to my full time work is key to a healthy state of mind for me. As a kid, my mom gave me the space to be my quiet self and explore my artsy side. I was always into something creative – taking photos, making little movies, voice recordings, drawing, etc. Looking through old family photos entertained me for hours. It’s still such a joy to not only look through my own visual family history but also friends and strangers. Fashion magazine editorials and photographers have been an inspiration / addiction of mine since my tween years (my pre-internet escapism) and have really influenced me in so many ways.

I studied Film for a few semesters then ended up deciding the still image was more for me.  Photography has been a constant in my life for many years.  That magazine obsession led me to wanting a career in fashion or fine art photography, I just loved the fantasy of it all. That passion eventually dwindled as I wasn’t willing to put up with the parts of it I wasn’t so keen on.  Somewhere in there my mom inspired me to start making jewelry so we did that together as a small business for awhile. It was so wonderful to have that experience together, creating side by side.

I feel like all of this definitely plays into my art in one way or another. I can collage those fantastical elements with paper instead of organizing a big photo shoot and spending money and hours in photoshop! I could never get all the animals I would want together anyways haha.

Collage and art journaling feel like the perfect fit for me! I’m in love with every part of the process, from hunting for ephemera, to cutting, to composing, to editing the instagram photos. I can’t wait to keep learning, growing and challenging myself. Collage animations, collaborations (please DM me if you’re interested), bigger pieces and more seasons of Get Messy are all on the list.

WHY DO YOU LOVE CREATING?

I love the feeling of working with my hands, away from the computer, getting into that rapt flow state, expressing myself and having fun.  I feel so much lighter and calmer after creating.

Also, as an introvert, I often struggle to assemble my thoughts quickly enough to contribute to a conversation as fully as I’d like to.  Creating helps me feel like I can take time to fully explore my voice and say what I want to say when words fail me.

HOW DO YOU FILL YOUR INSPIRATION WELL?

The Get Messy community and Instagram have been a wellspring!  The creativity, talent and graciousness have truly enriched my life.

I find that when I prioritize solitude, it really helps ease anxiety and I’m more observant, curious, receptive and patient with everything and everyone around me.  Going for long, quiet walks with my husband and dogs, reading, listening to music, meditating, spending quality time with those I love, even certain shows and movies, all really help to fill my well.

DESCRIBE YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS. DO YOU HAVE RITUALS TO MAKING?

There’s always coffee, dog cuddling, music, a podcast (How She Creates is a fave) or YouTube.

Sometimes I start off knowing what I want to make, other times that enigmatic creative force takes over and I figure out what it all means later (or not and I’m cool with that).  It’s so magically delicious when it happens that way, right?!

I typically use index cards as a base because 1. I have a lot of them 2. I can cut them to whatever size I need or combine two or more for a bigger composition.  I kind of feel like I’m cheating on art journaling by doing it this way haha.  I’ve mounted some of them into a bigger coil bound sketchbook and journaled below them to feel a bit better about it ;).

Women, animals and nature are in pretty much everything I do. So I usually start with those images.  I look for women interacting with something or in expressive full body poses (dancers are my favourite).  I try to find animals or nature images that symbolize what I’m feeling at the time, what qualities I aspire to or just what speaks to me for whatever reason. It’s a bonus when everything is facing the direction I need!  It’s so deeply satisfying when all of these elements come together.  This is one where everything just clicked, the apricot and ballerina fit perfectly in the tree, then the giraffe and elephant came along and completed the puzzle.

The editing of the images I post on IG are also a really big part of my process. Coming from a photography background, it’s kinda ingrained in me and I’m a bit too obsessive about it (working on that). I’m really fortunate to have studio lights so I can photograph pieces at night (which is usually when I finish them). I use my iPhone and the VSCO and Snapseed apps for a consistent, unifying look.  DM me if you want to talk specifics, I’m a nerd for this stuff and would love to know what others do!

✨ Free class for creatives ✨

In How to Start Art Journaling, we’ll walk you through the art of art journaling, including how to start doing (🙌) and make your very first art journal page (even if you’ve never even opened an art journal before).

WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT TO MAKE?

This happens all. the. damn. time.  Luckily I have Get Messy prompts, the ideas I’ve jotted down or pinned (still love Pinterest!), and my huge stash to sort through.  Sometimes I just cut things out put them in a pile on my desk and an idea springs to life from there.

I’m really lucky to have a very special place in my City called the Reuse Centre. I don’t go there often, (because I’m working on my paper hoarding) but when I do it’s like a symphony of everything I love: vintage photos, magazines, books, postcards, etc.  It’s so stimulating for my mind.

WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST STRUGGLE OR BARRIER TO CREATING AND HOW DO YOU OVERCOME IT?

Just one! Definitely overthinking, focusing and that really judgy inner critic.  Joining Get Messy, putting myself out there on Instagram and listening to podcasts about others’ creative struggles, have all been immensely helpful in making me feel like I’m not alone!  I’m also getting better at listening, understanding and trusting my intuition, which really feels like clearing a big hurdle for me.

WHAT ARE YOUR MUST HAVE SUPPLIES?

Paper, magazines, vintage books (I was so thrilled to find an entire set of encyclopedias from 1969 on freecycle), x-acto knife, glue, packing tape, index cards. As long as I have these, I’m in my happy place.

DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOUR ART REFLECTS YOUR PERSONALITY? HOW DO YOU GET IT TO LOOK LIKE YOU?

Oooh that’s tough, I hope so.  I’m a quiet, sensitive person who needs a lot of time and space to recharge and process things.  I like the challenge of making a collage as simple as I can while still expressing everything I want to say.  I can be solemn but I also love to laugh and not take myself too seriously. I think integrating my values and the things that grab me, help to reflect who I am and what I believe in.

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Amanda Hobbs

Amanda is a paper huntress-gatherer-weaver, residing near Edmonton in Alberta, Canada. She works under the name Mixed Matter Collage, exploring inner landscapes as a mindful practice towards her mental well being. Amanda believes wholeheartedly in the healing, interconnecting power of art and enjoys collaborating with other creatives. You can often find her in her introvert happy places: with her husband and two dogs, enjoying a walk in nature, thrifting or with her nose in a book.

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