Fantasy Scrapbook
A series of collages exploring the death of my mother

When I was five years old, a drunk driver killed my mother. That moment became part of my story—a story I recently decided to tell as a visual communicator. I spent time combing through mementos, family photos, and boxes of trinkets belonging to my mom to find the source material that would lead to a series of exploratory works. As I went through these memories, I found myself mourning the moments of mother and daughter bonding that never were. So, I created a series of digital collages that act as a fantasy scrapbook. These collages mix family ephemera and humor to tackle issues that I still think about as an adult—my first period, lack of family belonging, and beauty ideals. 
As part of the series, I stepped away from the computer to create a paper collage based on a photo of my mom when she was five. 
I collected magazines published during my mother's childhood and cut out advertisements of automobiles, alcohol, cigarettes, and war stories. From far away, you see a portrait, and when you get up close, all the details tell another story, one that isn't fun to talk about, but it is my story.
ROLE: Creative Concept / Design / Illustration 
Process Details
Rules for Cohesiveness
In order to keep the series cohesive, I set a series of rules to follow while creating the first of what would become three digital collages.
Each collage must...
• Contain a photo of my mother, and of me
• Have an image of a car that contains alcohol
• Use at least one illustration of “death”
• Contain at least one circle
• Incorporate a hand written story

Timelapse of Digital Collage Process
On the third and final collage, I created a time-lapse video of my design process. Since I had the basic rules and concept of the first two collages completed, this collage was the least time consuming, clocking in at around 3.5 hours of arranging, masking, and designing.
Illustration for Paper Collage
My mother was about five years old in this photo — the same age I was when she died. I took a little artistic liberty with the photo, opting to make it a little more visually appealing as I wanted it to feel a bit more balanced and visually interesting— a fantasy school portrait.
The Paper Collage Comes to Life
I started with a base layer of ads for the face. I am using aged paper as a skin tone. Then I cut her face out of my printed template to begin working on the details. Making the eyes was my favorite part, and I'm glad I cut them out initially, as it added character to the collage as I worked through all the other pieces.
I cut ( and re-cut) each piece and roughly arranged them on the board before gluing them down. I found it easier just to cut paper and see if it looked good, rather than worrying too much about the paper color right away. The face started to come together on its own.
When I got into the hair, I used the pencil lines I had drawn as a rough guideline, but each ultimately decided to freehand cut each paper piece. I then realized once I had the paper pieces in place, I had to take a photograph and digitally label each piece  so I could remember the order needed for assembly when it was time to glue them down.
Lastly, I added the dress with puffy sleeve details created with a few cigarette ads and alcohol ads. I also found a vintage Dr. Pepper ad that I just had to use for her dress's collar; the color fir perfectly, and since our last name is Pepper—it seemed like the perfect finishing touch.
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