PBS Interview – Layered Imagery

With a simple pair of scissors, artist Marjorie Pesick shapes snippets of photographic images into detailed works of art that feed the soul and fool the eye. Visual tricks and twists are layered into each of Pessek’s pieces, from an unexpected cat hidden in the face of a dog to a green goddess adding subtle shape and color to a leaf. “I call my work layered imagery because I’m using photographs to create the whole image, but it’s not just what’s in it, you know, there’s kind of a lot of things going on because it’s an experience for people, for the viewer,” Pesick explains. “So at first you see kind of this image, going ‘Wow, that’s a really cool horse piece,’ often they think it’s a painting until they get closer and they discover there’s all these images hidden inside it, and then they become excited and some people just become, like, proud that they discovered something, you know, it’s so funny. So it’s an emotional kind of thing.”

A lot of people that own Pesick’s work say when they look at the piece they see something different every time. “That’s why it calls layered imagery because it’s not just, there’s layers to it, it’s not just the pretty picture,” she says.

Pesick’s unique artwork evolved from a college art project, a portrait of her parents created from colorful clips from magazines her parents loved. Her parents loved the piece and proudly hung it in their home where friends saw it and gave the young artist her first commission. “Once I started working in the style, I mean I was a sophomore in college, and it was I knew I had something, I might have put on the back burner because I wasn’t sure, you know, do I want to struggle and try to be an artist?” Pesick persisted and after graduating from the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, she continued to refine her work, learning to mix tones and colors with their unusual palette of paper.

Unlike collages which tend to be mixed media abstracts, Pessek’s art is realistic, composed and created using fine art techniques in only one medium – paper. “What I’m trying to do with this is trying to make it flow like a painting,” she explains.