PHOTOS BY arjun narayen
STORY BY Hisyam Takiudin

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"It's like getting dressed in the morning," described Sophie when asked on how she puts her collages together. Before stepping out of her Brown University dorm, she’ll probably be wearing nine different colours and six distinct patterns, using her wardrobe as collage materials and herself as a blank canvas. Despite of her outgoing disposition, Sophie claims that she's not a woman of words, but rather finds solace expressing herself visually. "Some people keep a journal, I do art".

Growing up, she was supported by equally artistic parents who encouraged her to experiment and explore her creativity. She credits her Visual Arts class at Brown for introducing her to the joys of making collages. It was at the end of her freshman year that she had the epiphany to bring together random papers to make collages. She reminisced, "once I started, I couldn't stop."

Sophie takes her inspiration from a variety of places. As she does at home, she keeps a 'hoarder corner' in her dorm, a part of the room where she collects cutouts of magazines, newspapers and any paper with "pretty colours". Some of her collages may be driven by politics, while others are drawn from personal experience.

She recalled a collage she made depicting a raised house that illustrated a “fun living situation” that she had with a friend of the same name. They called their home “Sophieland”. However, Sophie maintains that for most of her artwork, she works on a "gut feeling", often realising her inspiration upon completing them.

It’s like getting dressed in the morning.

Her growing collection of paper cutouts are not a result of active paper hunting. Instead, she practices an alternative way of reading, paying attention to potential collage materials as she peruses publications.

As with her major influencer, cutout artist Henry Matisse, she has a keen eye for vibrant blocks of colours in her art. She explains that she wants people to see her art and "take from it what makes them happy".

For Sophie, a collage in its essence can be likened to what she aspires for the world, "to put together broken pieces” and see something anew. She acknowledges how accessible collages can be and hopes that others will find them as fun as she does. Her work may not (yet) be able to fix our flawed world, but she hopes that it will "inspire people to make art.”