Old family photos, 1950s fashion catalogs, and other paper ephemera are the building blocks from which illustrator Eda Akaltun constructs her detailed collages. Invoking a sense of nostalgia, her unique style has graced the pages of The Telegraph, Harvard Business Review, and, most recently, the BAFTA awards and invitations. Herman Miller has commissioned Akaltun to create a new poster to be unveiled at Then X Ten, an upcoming exhibition celebrating the power of the poster. Akaltun has been kind enough to give a sneak peek at her early concept.
Can you tell us a little about the poster you’re creating for Then X Ten?
I am working with the Eames Molded Plywood Chair and was inspired by its creators Charles and Ray Eames and their famous house. The Eameses were playful in their approach to design and created pieces that were meant to work in any environment: home, school, or in the office.
In my poster I’m illustrating four rooms, each depicting a different contexts for the chairs. Charles and Ray will be characters interacting in the spaces. I want the image to be as playful as they were.
You have a unique style, how did it come about?
When I was at Central Saint Martins, the pace of projects was so fast that I began using collage to express myself quickly. While there I also became interested in all forms of printmaking. I ended up merging these techniques and over time the style I work in today began to develop.
What are some of the tools you use?
I have a large collection of old photos, magazines, fabrics, catalogs, and general ephemera, mostly from the 1950s. I also kept prints I made during university and use them as textures in my collages. All of these help me build layers, textures, and colors in my digital work
How has technology changed your art form?
Despite making collages for a living, I’m not good with scissors. So having a Wacom tablet and Photoshop to edit my material is indispensable.
How much of your work is influenced by the past?
A lot, not only in terms of the materials I use, but I also draw inspiration from film, design, and fashion from bygone eras.
What advice would you give to aspiring art makers?
Just because our work is enjoyable, doesn’t mean it’s any easier than other professions. Many of my colleagues are extremely hard working people, so anyone planning to pursue a career in the arts field must have a strong work ethic and a thick skin!