Katie McCann describes her hand-cut collage art as part science fiction-part fairy story. Faeries, flora, and fauna form the basis of her work, the end result—a strange hybrid of made-up creatures that consist of insects, birds, shells, human bones, plants, and clothes. According to McCann, a constant theme throughout her work is the female face. Often placed at the very center of her piece, her heroine is surrounded by birds, fish, and butterflies, acting as a reflection of the natural and sometimes magical world that surrounds her.
Entirely self taught, McCann’s collages are cut out and arranged not unlike a jigsaw puzzle. According to McCann, she owns a large collection of antique books, prints, and pages from which she cuts out images, categorizes them, and, eventually, pieces them together. Her work consists mainly of paper, but McCann also embellishes some of her art with lace, beads, and fabric, which add some dimension and flair.
Her inspiration comes from nature and fashion, especially haute couture. “Putting the two together is like making strange paper dolls,” she observed in an interview with Medium. “I can see a lady in a bird hat, wearing a cut-up Alexander McQueen dress, with a lobster claw arm and spindly, deer legs. Somehow the juxtaposition of beautifully beaded couture dresses and bony, bird-like creatures is inspiring.”
McCann adds that she can actually spend quite a while flipping through old Vogue magazines and imagining how she can transform old dresses into an actual living thing.
Based in Berkeley, California, where she works from her home studio, McCann sells her collages online, through her Etsy shop. You can also follow her work digitally, via Instagram.