Greek native turned California habitant, collage artist and filmmaker Eugenia Loli evokes nostalgia and escapism through her dreamy, digital medleys. Loli takes inspiration from retro culture and fuses it with futuristic themes to create a beguiling juxtaposition that allows viewers to submerge themselves within a digital utopia.
Loli, who is a zealous fan of sci-fi, digitally manipulates vintage photos to create obscure illusions consisting of everything from magical moonscapes to Ancient Egyptian pyramids. Her surrealist-inspired images have made their way into several global magazines, including Curve, Lola, and Motive and her time spent living between Greece, Germany, the UK and America has undoubtedly contributed to the mixture of cultural references illustrated through her technicolour trances and spectacular vistas. The collage artist may still fall into the “underground artist” category but with clients including Urban Outfitters and Drop Dead clothing, its no surprise that people are flocking to the online store Society 6 to buy merchandise plastered with her trippy imagery.
Loli began her career working in the technology sector as a computer programmer but found the industry too impersonal and longed for a more exciting world to escape to. Since 2012 she has been creating retroist montages of sugar pink Cadillac’s, fantasy goddesses, nebulas and Easter Island.
Whilst her collages may appear to be tongue-in-cheek whimsy, Loli insists that behind every visual narrative there is a deeper meaning. “It's important for me to ‘say’ something with my artwork, so for the vast majority of my work there's a meaning behind them. I usually do this via presenting a ‘narrative’ scene in my collages, like there's something bigger going on than what's merely depicted,” she explains. Often her work can be witty or sarcastic but her meanings are rarely immediately obvious, instead she straddles the realms of mystery and ambiguity, leaving her graphic collages open to much interpretation. “I leave it to the viewer's imagination to fill-in the blanks of the story plot,” notes the digital artist.
Inspired by Dadaism, sci-fi and the Greek encyclopaedias she drew from as a child - Greek mythology is a recurring feature in her work, Loli illustrates a kaleidoscope of cultural and mystic references. She explains that her collages are like stills from a surreal movie, but whether such a movie actually exists, she is unsure. The Matrix, Brazil, Equilibrium, and Monty Python have all fuelled her colourful imagination but her true love is in space opera sci-fi. Yet despite the continual use of futurism, analogue is still a driving force in the creative process. “I’m probably one of the very few digital collage artists that takes solid steps to ensure that the majority of my collages look like they’re done on paper. I dislike transparencies, vectors, blending and all these special effects that scream “digital’”, insists Loli.
The modern vintage collage encourages viewers to escape to other realms, higher planes and. For Loli, creating socio-political images is about allowing for the possibility that in some other world, people, objects, and nature observe different laws of physics. “When the nonsensical starts making sense, then we've opened our minds to the possibility, and we're getting ready for more,” muses the spiritual artist. Her bold focal images - often a striking model snipped from a 1950s or 1960s magazine, and swirling backdrops induce nostalgia upon even the youngest of viewers. I’m reminded of the eerie Twilight Zone, whilst the landscapes appear as if they could have been visited by Sam and Endora in the US sitcom, Bewitched. Ultimately we’re achieving escapism, which is exactly what the artist intends. “I don't particularly like this planet because of the way it's being managed by human beings. I long for a better place, far away from this star system. I'm curious about the various species and worlds that reside elsewhere. Earth doesn't wow me.”