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Beth Höeckel

Using vintage publications from the 40s to 70s, the Baltimore-born artist creates richly colourful images that combine her findings with a modern digital feel

By hunting down vintage publications from the 40s - 70s in second-hand book stores, artist Beth Höeckel creates richly colourful images that combine her findings with a modern digital feel. Oddly haunting and often raising an air of mystery, her work tends to grasp at something that isn't quite there, and perhaps invites the viewer to interpret their own meaning. Inspired by the likes of John Bohl and Andrew Laumann, Höeckel has developed a distinct style both in her collages as well as illustrations which take on a different mood.

Dazed Digital: What are the various sources of your images? How do you find these sources?
Beth Höeckel: Mostly vintage books and magazines from 1940s-1970s, but especially from the 50s - they have a beautiful colour quality that doesn't really exist anymore. I frequent used book stores and thrift shops for sources. There's a donation centre in Baltimore city that accepts any and all used book and magazines, then on weekends they open to the public and everything is free. I try to go every weekend and scour for materials, it's had a huge impact on my work.

DD: What are the main recurring themes to your work, if there are any?
Beth Höeckel: There aren't specific recurring themes besides aesthetic ones, but underlying themes like nostalgia and mystery always play a role.

DD: Your collages are always so well-matched and oddly eerie, what are the subtexts of the images say for example like where the subjects are all gazing into a juxtaposed distant?
Beth Höeckel: In that specific series, the subtexts are almost entirely left up to the viewer. What one person could interpret as an image of inspiration or awe another could take away an entirely different meaning, like longing or loss. To me, not revealing faces or expressions is like keeping a secret.

DD: What inspires you on a daily basis?
Beth Höeckel:
Unusual shapes, negative space, language and literature, interpersonal relations, treasure hunting. 

DD: Any favourite artists/photographers?
Beth Höeckel: I'm really into the work my peers are doing right now. There's a wealth of really exceptional art and music going on in Baltimore where I live. I love prints by John Bohl, sculptures by Hermonie Only, photography by Andrew Laumann, drawings by Jordan Bernier.

DD: What are you working on at the moment?
Beth Höeckel: I'm working on several new projects. A series of collages called Shapes on a Plane; a series of black and white collages; a book of collages made from magazines called Rational Neographic; collages using only two elements; re-mixing my own photographs.

DD: Most excited about next?
Beth Höeckel: I'm really excited about making my ideas a reality and the ideas I haven't thought of yet. Also, collaborating with artist friends on things like large scale collages. Also swimming. And going to Iceland.