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Sammy Slabbinck: Vintage Visions

A Parallel Planets piece by Erin Nøir - old account

Parallel Planets presents Sammy Slabbinck
in Vintage Visions
Interview by Erin Emocling

Mentioned: structuring images, thriving on creativity & fantasy, and being a buzzard

* * *

Erin Emocling: Hey, Sammy! Hope you’re doing well. Great to have you here on Parallel Planets. As we can only be online voyeurs for now, we only know the basics about you—you’re a Belgian artist born sometime in the 1970s. Tell something about yourself that we can’t find on the Internet. What did you do before you became a collage-maker?

Sammy Slabbinck: I have always been an active art follower. Worked in galleries, had my own for 3 years and then gradually came to the process of making stuff for myself. Literally for myself, almost like an addiction. I had to create everyday & then things kinda took off.

EE: When/How did your inclination with creating collages begin?

SS: Collage was always one of my favorite art forms. There’s so much freedom in the medium that it appealed to me straight away. Being able to go through endless vintage magazines & book with a purpose was also part of the attraction.

The most visible approach on your collages, which primarily drew my attention to your works, is the pulchritudinous combination of classicism and surrealism. Why is this so?

Surrealism comes easy to me. Especially when creating a collage. There are literally no rules , anything goes as long as it is coherent. Juxaposing different elements, using pictures of different eras accentuates the surreal.

EE: What influences your work? Who inspires you?

SS: I am very fond of analogue photography. There is a certain mood in them I find very appealing to work with. There are several great (collage) artists out there, too many to mention, who can still surprise me and boost my creativity.

EE: Art is science and science is a process. How do you go about your creative process—from the conception of ideas to the execution of your thoughts?

SS: Mostly I start from 1 single photograph that has potential. I let my mind wander and see where it can take me. Some collages are made instantly, while others take weeks before I find the right combination or balance. A sort of complex simplicity is usually what I aim for. 

EE: Where do you get vintage photographs? How do you juxtapose the images on your collages? When do you know if a piece is already finished?

SS: I’ve been collecting vintage magazines and books for a long time, even before I started using them for my work. I’ve always been attracted to the imagery from the '50s, '60s and '70s. I started going to garage sales about fifteen years ago looking for vintage furniture, but most of the time I went home with magazines and books.

Structuring images is the hardest part of all. There is no real fixed strategy; it all boils down to a gut feeling. I keep trying to find new ways to create a balance between different elements. Most laws of composition can’t be ignored even in a surreal collage environment.

The images have to interact naturally and work together to serve the bigger picture. And then at a certain point one can get lost in the image - this is a good sign to stop and call it a day.

EE: How do you feel and/or what do you think about digital collages? What makes traditional (or paper) collages more “exquisite” than the digital renditions of today?

SS: I do both. The traditional method is sometimes more satisfying when everything falls into place. There is no way of altering the images like you can do digitally. Sometimes, you have an idea derived from an image that is just not possible to execute the traditional way so then I turn on my Mac. 

EE: How do your collages relate to your personal story?

SS: There is not much relation between them apart from that I thrive on my creativity & fantasy.

EE: Tell us more about “Fifty Ways Postcards”.

SS: I started this company 3 years ago trying to make original postcards. A lot of imagery that I can’t use in my collages ends up as postcards. I still like the format of a postcard & they way an image can travel with it.

EE: What is your mantra in life?

SS: “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.” A. Einstein.

EE: Aside from collages and illustrations, what other creative pursuits are you interested in?

SS: Lately, I am really having fun making stop-motion animations with an app called Vine. It allows you to make 6 secs videos that loop. I mainly us vintage imagery that I animate & tell a short story. You can follow my exploits here.

EE: What do you do if you’re not in the mood to make art? Tell us more about the other side of Sammy Slabbinck.

SS: That doesn’t happen a lot! When I am not in a creative mood I can still enjoy going throught magazines and finding good source material. Really like going to second hand markets, garage sales, hanging out with friends, riding my motorcycle, etc. And I need to escape sometimes, into nature.

EE: What’s your favorite movie and when was the last time you saw it?

SS: I have many favorites. One I saw again recently was Inglorious Basterds.

EE: Where’s your favorite place on Earth?

SS: No actual place but nature in general, next to a river specifically.

EE: What’s your favorite breakfast meal?

SS: Eggs & bacon.

EE: Do you have any weird habits? Strange desires? Unlikely fetishes? Surprise us.

SS: Not really, nothing that’s illegal, I guess.

EE: What project(s) are you currently working on? Any upcoming exhibitions soon?

SS: Making some record covers for some belgian bands this month. No real exhibits sheduled,
invitations always welcome!

In this planet that we're thriving in—
What is your power animal? Why?

A buzzard, love watching them hovering in complete freedom.

Who is your alternate ego? Why?

No idea, will have to ask around.

In an alternate universe where art does not exist—
What would your name be? Why?

No art, sorry that’s impossible!

What would you be doing instead? Why?

Making art, of course!

More from Sammy Slabbinck: Tumblr, BigCartel, Facebook


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