Pursue your dream at all costs, even if your financial situation does not allow it. Db Waterman has had to challenge herself creatively to turn her passion into her job. It started with reusing magazines and other materials and now – 7 years later – she still uses them mixed media technology. She is now a recognized artist and her work hangs in various offices and galleries in New York and London. Text: Larissa Schaule Jullens
Image: db Waterman

A Bit of Happiness

“Seven years ago I started reusing paper, magazines and all kinds of other materials. At that time I could not afford painting materials. I was completely at zero financially. But because I still wanted to make art, I collected everything I could find around me and then reused it. This has resulted in a completely new way of working for me that I still use today, but have completely expanded and perfected it. I like to use paper from magazines and old books for my collage work. I also work with many different materials such as acrylic paint, watercolor, oil pastels and pencil. My brushes are usually old and worn out because I work with them very roughly. In addition, my box cutter is a popular tool and I also collect all kinds of materials that I can use as stamps on top of the work. In my job A bit of happiness that is clearly visible. Layer upon layer of magazine pages and acrylic paint. On top of that pencil and pastel chalk.”

Saturday Swing

“Children are a source of inspiration for me. Their ability to rise above any bad situation is astonishing. Playing tag in the ruins of a bombed Syrian city, playing football in the most miserable neighborhoods: they are always looking for the light. They will save the future that our generations have really messed up and not even blame us for it. If we could just keep the child within ourselves a little more, we wouldn't be in such a mess. Art can help us regain our childish innocence. Saturday Swing is a good example of this. This mixed media/collage artwork is my most popular work. It is currently hanging in a gallery in New York: Muriël Guipin Gallery, Soho, New York.”

It seemed such a good idea

“This is how I work. I use original photographs, all kinds of paper, acrylic paint, oil pastels, ink, chalk and pencil in my artwork. The diversity of resources that I can now use has proven to be indispensable to me. I wanted my works to be transparent and have depth. That was the biggest challenge that collage art posed to me: the brutal lack of transparency. Finding a way to mimic the effects of transparency that watercolor painting in particular can have. That was a real challenge for me. In my paintings and collages I try to show the totality of my creative work. Layer upon layer of different materials and all kinds of techniques, all of which leave visible traces in the finished pieces. As an example of transparency, I chose the work It Seemed Such a Good Idea. This collage was chosen to be displayed across the UK in an outdoor billboard exhibition. This exhibition – which was displayed at train stations, subways and public places – represented a public demonstration of support for action on climate change. Afterwards my work was sold and now it hangs in an office in London.”