The Glasgow-based artist created a series of ‘exploding portraits’ for a sensitive article in The Atlantic Magazine about treating ‘untreatable’ children.
illustrator Lola Dupre creates intricate collages that have been commissioned for the covers of Penguin classics and Time magazine. Her work can be broadly divided into two key styles: beautiful/terrifying Surrealist portraits that are remind us equally of Salvador Dali, Hannah Hoch and Chris Cunningham; and ‘exploding portraits’. Here she cuts faces into a concentric ring of geometric shards that shatter outwards from the centre.
Lola’s latest exploded portraits were commissioned for a story in the June 2017 edition of American news title The Atlantic Magazine titled When Your Child Is a Psychopath, looking at the experiences of children with what psychiatrists call ‘conduct disorder with callous and unemotional traits’ and their parents.
As if often the case with Lola’s portraits in this style, there are multiple possible interpretations to the illustration – representing the damage done by these children to the people and world around them if they aren’t treated, or perhaps the way their are viewed by their parents.
For the When Your Child Is a Psychopath illustrations, Lola began with stock photography, which she printed, cut and arranged.
While many modern collage artists work digitally, Lola creates her illustrations with scalpel and glue.
“When I made my first collages I could not afford a computer, so I have grown accustomed to this way of working,” she tells me by email. “I have great respect for digital collage, and if I were to start my work again I would work digitally.
“But I do enjoy the tangible physical object from the physical process. Paper collage looks very different I think – the shadows from the cut lines usually being much more obvious.”
Lola was first drawn to collage as a form through her love of working with paper, and it’s a love that she maintained since, despite creating using other forms and media.
“I’ve worked with many things: like super-8 animation, photography, creative writing, painting, sculpture and music. Collage was something I always came back too, something that attracts me.”
While there are usually hundreds of elements to her compositions – whether she’s creating ‘exploding portraits’ or less geometric works – Lola disagrees with my description of her collages as intricate.
“I do not think they are so intricate, especially if you look at the fluidity of something like paint or fabric,” she says. “I do admire collage artists creating amazing work with just one or two cuts, but I love the flexibility I hope I have found in collage – I imagine the images melted in a weightless space.”
I asked Lola about her influences and she cites a broad range including old masters (Bruegel the Elder, Hieronymous Bosch), modern artists (Roland Topor, Yayoi Kusama), animators and cartoonists (Jan Svankmejer, Moebius), fashion photographers and art directors (Steven Meisel, Jean-Paul Goude) – but, she says “I find inspiration is everything and everyone really, and in nature especially.”