Play It Again, Sam: The Why Behind Repeated Collage Elements


If you have followed my work for any amount of time, you’ll quickly notice that I use certain symbols and imagery over and over again in my work. Why?

It’s not because I have nothing new to use. I have an over-abundance of collage materials in my studio! I am constantly collecting, so quantity is not a problem.

Perhaps it’s because I’m lazy and decided these iconic pieces are “good enough.” Nope, that’s not either. “Good enough” doesn’t jive with my personality. At. All.

My repeated use of certain pieces is quite intentional and something I have thought through because I will often intuitively do something in my art and then ponder and evaluate the meaning of that action at a later time.

So, why? Why do I keep using the same pieces over and over in my work? It’s simple, really. They are symbolic of my most deep seeded beliefs and who I am as an artist and a woman. They speak to my worldview and what I hold most dear. Since artwork is a very personal thing, this is one way I include myself in the work. It is like my signature. No matter what scene I’m painting, I find there are overarching themes and ideas that stay constant in my mind. Ideas related to the precious nature of time, the presence of a Creator, the value of beauty, the unique duality of humanity as physical and spiritual….the list goes on. In order to make sense of the world around me, I desperately need some constants in my life. I have a feeling I’m not alone in that reality.

Having a couple repeated elements in my work also helps to connect it all together as one big story. My story that I share with those around me. You will not see every repeated element in every one of my works, but they pop up often. Each piece is a conversation with me, in essence, so I like to keep the conversation varied, but I’m human, so I will repeat myself. My friends and my family can attest to that!

I hope this helps to bring some understanding to the repetition you see in my work. To further the discussion, I’ve put together a PDF that includes deeper explanations of specific collage elements. If you want to know more, you can sign up for my mailing list and receive this downloadable PDF as a gift. Consider it a code key for my work!

Am I the only one around here that repeats herself? What things do you repeatedly do or say and how are they integral to who you are? I would love to hear, so please share in the comments.

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