Whimsical Reality: A Fusion of Art & Fantasy

By Lee Merrill

aige Powell’s artistic palette is a color lover’s dream. With a mixture of reality and whimsy, Powell’s digital collage pieces spark a spirit of playfulness and humor. Long-time Shreveport residents are drawn to her 318 Collages that transform local landmarks into delightfully absurd visual stories, but she has more creative expressions in her portfolio and up her sleeve.

Powell grew her skills through years of graphic design in the advertising world, while making her own creations on the side. In 2016, she left a marketing job at a local casino to pursue her own art. “At first, I was only creating compositions using Photoshop,” Powell said. “I would have them printed on canvases, cards, canvas bags, stickers, etc., but I started having pain in my hands that made working on the computer painful. I missed ‘getting my hands on’ the actual artwork. I bought some wooden panels and began creating collages inside them by pouring resin epoxy between the layers of collage to create a 3D effect.”

Inspired by the architectural and cultural elements around her, Powell is a master at transporting the traditional into surreal, contemporary dreamscapes. When looking at her pieces, one can’t help but wonder how she makes it happen. “One of my newer additions to the 318 Collage series is Bear’s on Fairfield, one of my favorite places to see live music. I’ve been wanting to create a piece of art featuring Bear’s for a while but couldn’t figure out what twist I wanted to put on it. One day, the idea came to me to put Bear’s in the woods where bears live. After I photographed the building, I spent a long time photoshopping out cars, the background, telephone poles and traffic lights until I had the building by itself. I enhanced it by combining photos I took at night with the neon beer signs lit. I then looked and looked until I found the right set of woods to place it in. Next, I searched for photos of bears on a stock photography site. I wanted them to look friendly. I added the woods and the bears and worked on color and lighting until I had the piece the way I wanted it.”

This year, Powell will be working with Caddo Parish’s Poet Laureate, Poetic X, to design a mural for The Highland Center.  The mural will be inspired by one of his poems as part of the “Put a Poem on It” project. As for her art, Powell shared, “I am coming to an end of using epoxy resin, as I believe it has caused me some neurological damage that I can no longer ignore.  I will be exploring collage in a new way in 2024.  I am not sure what that is going to be yet, but I am excited to see where this might lead me. I have felt a little uninspired lately, something that happens to all of us creatives, so I am looking forward to getting excited and inspired with some new creations.” 

Paige Powell’s work is a testament to the belief that art is not merely seen; it is experienced. For more information about Paige Powell’s art, visit her website at pixelpaige.com.

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