A Cut Above: Beth Hoeckel

by Melissa Goldstein
Splicing found imagery from vintage magazines spanning the 1940s to 1970s, Beth Hoeckel embraces a Twilight Zone aesthetic in her mixed-media works, an otherworldly quality that is intuitive for the Baltimore-based talent: "It's just what comes naturally to me, and what I am drawn to," she explains. And while it may not strike you as instinctual to posit pin-up-worthy sunbathers in an ash cloud, or a super-sized house cat on the mountainous surface of a faraway planet, the creative license has paid off for the Art Institute of Chicago alum, who has won raves from such tastemaking publications as The Paris Review and Dazed and Confused,  is a frequent contributor to Tavi Gevinson's online magazine Rookie, and whose work will appear in a the group exhibition "Ladies Represent," curated by BUST Magazine at New York's Superchief Gallery and opening August 15th. We asked Hoeckel to talk us through her process, and curated our favorite selections from her selection of online prints in shoppable form below. Can you boil down your artistic process for us? It's easy to explain in layman's terms because it is literally cut and paste. I find and collect images that speak to me, cut them out with scissors, then play around with all sorts of different things until I come up with a cohesive and intriguing new image. Your subject matter is pretty varied--from intergalactic cats to airborn mannequins. Is their a recurring theme that ties your work together? A common theme I strive for is keeping it simple. I think if I can really nail something or really get a point across and depict a feeling using only a few elements, that is a success. I sometimes like to think of my pieces as little poems, like one-liners that stick with you, which I also really appreciate in literature. What is inspiring you right now? Right now the summer sky in Maryland, where I live, is inspirational.  The moon and the clouds have been extra dramatic, the forests are really overgrown and make these crazy monster-looking green shapes, and just being near running water--I think it does something to the ions in the air. Though your collages comprise vintage imagery they still feel very modern--what is the key to making the end result feel fresh?  I think it's because of the precision involved: I get pretty meticulous about the cutting and placing. Collage in general looks kind of scrappy or thrown together, which can be great, but that's not the way I operate. Even in my work that may appear thrown together, it's not. I think that's what gives it a slick feel. beth-header
dh-beth-hoekel-07 dh-beth-hoekel-09 dh-beth-hoekel-12
 Herd, $16  Bedtime, $16 Someone Else , $16
dh-beth-hoekel-10 dh-beth-hoekel-08 dh-beth-hoekel-11
 If Looks Could Kill, $16  Tangle, $16  Sunspots, $16

Add a Comment

More Stories
1