The Art of the Personal Project is a crucial element to let potential buyers see how you think creatively on your own.  I am drawn to personal projects that have an interesting vision or that show something I have never seen before.  In this thread, I’ll include a link to each personal project with the artist statement so you can see more of the project. Please note: This thread is not affiliated with any company; I’m just featuring projects that I find.  Please DO NOT send me your work.  I do not take submissions.


Today’s featured artist:  Marsha Bernstein

I’ve always been drawn to collage work, particularly the decollage work of French artist Jaques Villegle, which is more about subtracting and revealing layers than assembling and building. A lot of my professional work is fashion reportage – backstage at New York Fashion Week – so I thought those images would be fun to work with and explore my own collage style. I thought I would try something in the style of Villegle but I ended up just playing around and doing my own thing. I haven’t been in a darkroom in years so this is a way for me to create art in a tactile way. It’s nice to work away from a screen.

The process is very relaxing and meditative and a way for me to stay creative during periods where I’m not busy (but I’ve also enjoyed making collages during very hectic times as a way to unwind). I don’t have a fixed method – instead, I’ll just pick one of my own fashion images that I think will be interesting to work with – it might be because of a shape, a face, the colors – what draws me to it is always different. I’ll then often print the image in different sizes to play with scale. Other times I’ll use a singular image and bring in some sort of paper ephemera (a vintage French color palette poster, for example) or another image of mine as a backdrop (a London street, the Seine river, and the interior of the Louvre are a few examples). Then I’ll usually rip the images and paper and play with placement.

I’ve also experimented with digital collages in a similar way – using my own fashion images and playing with repetition and scale against a backdrop of something else I’ve photographed. More recently, because I wasn’t able to shoot this past fashion season due to the pandemic, I used images of mine from previous seasons and placed them in vintage scenes with televisions as a play on how we’d all be watching the digital shows. I also incorporated screenshots of a digital fashion show from Paris Fashion Week against a photo of mine of Paris rooftops. I missed shooting shows and this was a way for me to be in that world again.

I don’t spend too much time on an individual collage, as I like it to feel organic. (I think if I spent too much time planning one out it wouldn’t have the rawness that some of them have). Cross training, so to speak, is an important part of being an artist, in my opinion. Actually, I think it’s important for any profession or hobby – it’s good to work different parts of the brain in order to strengthen and grow the ones you use all the time. Or maybe I’m thinking too much about it – I just enjoy it.

To see more of this project, click here.

APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s.  After establishing the art-buying department at The Martin Agency, then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies, she decided to be a consultant in 1999. She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information because she believes that marketing should be driven by brand and not by specialty.  Follow her at @SuzanneSeaseInstagram

Success is more than a matter of your talent. It’s also a matter of doing a better job presenting it.  And that is what I do with decades of agency and in-house experience.


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