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Carissa Sosnowski

Posted on May 1, 2019 by Sarah Wells

For self-taught Appleton collage artist Carissa Sosnowski, intuition has played a major role in her art career. Having enjoyed arts and crafts since childhood, Sosnowski found her interest in collage through a daily journaling class in high school. Students had the option to either write or create a collage about their day in their journals. One day, her teacher approached her to see if she would consider publishing her collage journal as a way to help other students. Although she never published it, Sosnowski says, “It gave me the spark of maybe I do have something here and there’s a talent to explore.” 

Sosnowski rediscovered her collage skills three years ago when a friend asked her to consider showing a piece in an art show at The Draw in Appleton. This time, Sosnowski said yes. 

“Somebody bought one of my pieces off the bat,” she says. “It was just really exciting knowing that this was a good path for me to go on.” She has since become more serious about her art, showing pieces at The Arts Mill in Grafton and The Nasty Women art show during the Women Bring Change Empowerment Symposium in Chicago. She has created album art for musicians with local ties including Adriel Denae and Dead Horses. Sosnowski’s work is also currently on sale at The Neighborhood Arts Collective in Appleton.

Sosnowski describes her pieces as “visual puns” because she plays the image and title off of one another. Her creative process begins by sifting through vintage magazines she finds at thrift stores, antique malls and eBay for potential images to use. “It’s something where it’s either an expression on someone’s face or a very bold, colorful image,” Sosnowski says. “It’s just going with your gut feeling and saying ‘wow, this is a great image,’ ripping it out and putting it away in a stack of your clippings.” 

Ideas for pieces come to her when her mind relaxes while she takes her daily 30 minute walk. Sosnowski likes to start and finish a project in one day and works between four to six hours at a time. She begins by using an X-ACTO knife to cut out the images before laying them against a background. She then rearranges things until they seem right. “It’s like a jigsaw puzzle, you just feel how it fits,” Sosnowski says. Once she is satisfied with the look of the piece, Sosnowski adheres the pieces using rubber cement.

Sosnowski’s goal for her work is simple: “I hope it charms, inspires and makes you smile,” she says. 

See Sosnowski’s work during Art on the Town on May 17 from 5 to 8 p.m. at the FOX CITIES Magazine booth in Houdini Plaza or visit her on Instagram @bittercutcake.

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