Winding up the stairs of the Olive Deluce Fine Arts Building and into a darkened classroom, students crowded around to listen to Andrea Burgay give a lecture Oct. 14.
Burgay is a Brooklynn, New York, based collage artist. Her main themes circled around life, death, decay and rebirth.
“Collage is a medium between 2D paintings and 3D sculptures,” Burgay said during her lecture, scrolling through her powerpoint of her artwork. “It’s a tension between the two, and it has the best of both worlds.”
Burgay took inspiration from the world around her, often fascinated and inspired by the peeling paper from old posters that hung on the walls and posts. She said that while she is constantly looking for material, she only uses things that can “invite destruction” or something she is OK tearing apart.
Burgay first traced her love of collage back to her childhood when her mother would scramble puzzles for her to put together and how she would cut out words from magazines that started with certain letters in order to learn her alphabet.
“I also derive a lot of inspiration from books and puzzles,” Burgay said. “Books played a big part of my life and so did puzzles. The method of taking little pieces together and making them a whole that puzzles embody was highly influential in the way I wanted to approach my work.”
Burgay talked about how lonely being an artist can be and combined her desire to reach out and love of literacy to create the “Cut Me Up Magazine.”
“Cut Me Up Magazine” is a publication started and edited by Burgay. It encourages artists to cut up the magazine and create art to submit for the next edition.
“It was a lot of things coming together,” Burgay said. “I got a grant from a residency I was at, a friend who agreed to publish it for me and then I had a group of people who were interested in participating.”
After her lecture students, faculty and the public were invited to a reception on the first floor and look at Burgay’s latest collection “Mining the Ruins: The Library.”
Sophomore Emma Haley came to the reception excited to learn about a medium she doesn’t normally create.
“I always love hearing the stories and inspiration behind collage artwork,” Haley said. “Sometimes you don’t always see what inspired them.”
Haley’s favorite art display was “Courage or Collage,” a piece that began as a book titled “Courage,” but Burgay covered part of the word so it could be read either as courage or collage.
Junior Mace Lilienthal liked how Burgay opened up about how mental illness and grief influenced past collage pieces.
“Art can be personal, and not a lot of people have to get it or understand it,” Lilienthal said. “People may not get it, but it doesn’t matter.”