Kirsten McCormack

Junior painting major Kirsten McCormack works on a large scale collage piece in her studio space in Richards Hall on Wednesday, April 10, 2019, in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Layers of paper cover large-scale canvases that sit in the sunlight next to a window in Richards Hall. This is where one can find Kirsten McCormack spending her time pasting and layering collages.

McCormack is a junior painting major at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln who occupies one of the senior studios in Richards Hall. Over the past year, she said she discovered her passion and family ties to creating collages with different materials.

Using materials like wheat paste, McCormack makes large, colorful, pattern-filled collages. She shared her experiences and journey of discovering her new-found passion with The Daily Nebraskan.

The Daily Nebraskan: What’s your background in art?

Kirsten McCormack: I’ve wanted to be an artist since I was in the fourth grade when I did a drawing of some doors. My teacher was like “Wow,” and ever since then, I’ve wanted to do art. I’ve just been making random stuff ever since, trying to figure it out.

DN: Why did you choose to major in painting?

KM: I don’t really paint very much. I’m doing everything, and I have painting as my major so I can just do whatever I want. Collage is what I’ve been working on recently. It’s just easier to have painting as the backup. And I can still paint, but collages are mostly what I’ve been doing. A painting major gives me the freedom to do what I want. Recently, I’ve come to the discovery that a lot of the women in my family have created quilts, and my mom crochets. So collaging is that same piecing of pieces together and making that bigger object. It just comes out of me naturally to paste and create layers upon layers upon layers. I feel like it runs in my family.

DN: What do you like most about your art?

KM: I like that my work is never-ending. It’s always a continuous form of expression. Whatever I make, I can take a picture of, and I can literally use that picture again for another painting and then take a picture of that. It’s just so endless and fun. There’s two different kinds of collages I do: one is a matte medium transfer where I’ll paste paper and then rub it off, and the ink stays on the canvas, and then the other one is like using wheat paste to paste the paper.

DN: How has your art evolved over time?

KM: I think, recently, this past year has been the biggest mind-changing thing. It is the collage, the pasting and layering. I’ve painted for a long time, but it just isn’t the same. Collaging feels a lot more free-flowing. I like to paint when I really need to paint, but it’s not as good. But learning more about my family has made me come to the realization that collaging is never-ending, and knowing that means I just keep going and it’ll never end.

DN: What do you hope to do with art in the future?

KM: I want to combine my work more with everything that I’m doing, because I’ve also been making music, and I want to make videos and all of that. I just want to combine everything more. Also, I want to go bigger, like really bigger. I want to make a mural or something and go crazy with it. That’s what I want to do, so I better do it.