Happy Friday! Today we’re talking with Michelle Bernard of Yesterday’s Trash Art. She does what’s called “mixed media art” and has created some very interesting things!
Why are you passionate about mixed media art?
It’s funny because when I first started liking art, I had no idea this was where my creativity would end up! I knew from an early age that I liked to be creative visually. I tried drawing, but felt like it was too difficult for me. Later on in High School, I discovered graphic design. That was exciting for me because, well… I didn’t have to draw anything. I also spent some time taking Photography in College. Over the years I also took some local craft classes in things like jewelry, stamping, card-making, altered books and such. But then I disovered Art & Soul Mixed Media Art Retreats. And it all made sense. I could combine all of my interests and all of the mediums I liked to work with! I didn’t have to choose just one thing. It was perfect.
What got you started with art and being creative as a hobby/business?
For most of my career I have been a Graphic Artist, and spent my life being creative for other people. Eventually I felt the need to express my own personal creativity in my very own way, so I started to dabble in art projects after work and on the weekends. Working in the genre of mixed media meant there was no limit to what I could create, and I began to come up with all kinds of ideas…more ideas than I had time for. I knew that creating something from nothing was what I was meant to do for a living, and I didn’t want to spend one more minute not doing it! I had a little bit of a nest egg saved up and so I decided to take the leap and try to make my art a way of life. I quit my job last Summer and have been making mixed media jewelry, collage, assemblage, dolls and more ever since! The name of my business is Yesterday’s Trash. I love taking old, antique, found and otherwise discarded objects, and showcasing them in a new, interesting way. Almost as if to say, “Someone thought this had no value, but look how special it really is!”
Do you have a favorite piece you’ve created?
One of the things I love to do is make something from scratch that looks like it was made decades ago – like an antique someone found. I also like creating in the folk art style (really that’s because I can pretend I don’t know what I’m doing and still like what I’m making!). Recently, I combined those two passions and made a Conjoined Twins Sideshow Assemblage. I really do love getting lost in the details of how to make it look old, and enjoy the challenge of that process. Some of my other favorites are 20 funky flowers and a voodoo doll.
What exciting future plans do you have for your work?
I have received such a great response from all of my carnival, circus and sideshow-themed art, that I think I am going to continue on in that category. For me it’s perfect because again, I don’t have to choose! I can make themed collages, assemblages, dolls, jewelry and more. In fact, in a few short months a circus-themed hair salon is opening and I’ve been asked to create some actual games, wheels of fortune and a bunch of my arcade-style knock-down dolls! I’m very excited about that.
Do you have any tips/inspiration to share?
As an artist I would say, do what you like and what feels right to you. Sometimes I’ve actually had to stop asking people what they think of my work because it would make me question myself and that is so detrimental to one’s own creative process.
Also, as a “recovering perfectionist” I would like to offer up one word: commit! For my entire life I overthought everything, especially when it came to art. “Should I put this here? What if I don’t like it? What if something else would look better there?” You know the voice. But when I just began creating in the moment and committing (gluing the item down!), it changed everything. It made me a better problem solver, because if I didn’t like it, I’d have to figure out a way to cover it up. I came up with some of my best techniques that way.
It just goes to show you that you never know what you will find or create! Thanks for sharing Michelle!