D: To start things off, please introduce yourself to our audience!
J: Greetings, my name is Jodie Day and I create analog collage pieces under the pseudonym Sacred Cuts. I’m a stay at home mum/housewife of three children and live in London, UK. I’ve been creating art in some form or other for most of my life. I wasn’t a very studious child, I didn’t enjoy school very much. I spent far too much time daydreaming, doodling, and not fitting in.
I had my first child at the age of 19 and devoted the first few years entirely to getting to grips with motherhood. Three years later, I enrolled on an art foundation course, which covered all basic mediums but I found myself mostly drawn to 3D assemblage and sculpture. A year later I went to university to study Fine Art, concentrating mostly on sculpture. Whilst I enjoyed being introduced to new territories in the art world, it also lacked something for me. Once I graduated (four years later) I realized that I had just been reliving my time at school. I don’t work well within establishments of any kind it seems. A few years went by, two more babies born, and my creating ceased. Without a studio space, I couldn’t continue with sculpture, so I turned to assembling paper images instead and I haven’t stopped since.
D: It sounds like you’ve pretty much exclusively devoted yourself to collages nowadays. What is it about collage art that keeps you coming back to the medium?
J: There are many reason why, really. At the beginning, it was mostly to do with not having the space or the time. Painting and drawing can be quite time consuming practices and I needed a medium that allowed me to just crack on with it. I love the instant effects you can achieve just by placing images together, it sings to my surrealist side. I think one of the biggest reasons is the actual process itself. I just find it very meditative and much needed.
D: On the topic of the creative process, what’s yours like? Do you tend to have some particular image in mind before you get started on a piece or do you prefer to just let the hand of fate guide you as you go along?
J: I rarely have an image in mind before I start new piece but I tend to work with a ‘mood’ that I might be feeling at that point. Like most collage artists, I have a ton of books and magazines that I enjoy looking through. Most of the material is related to stuff I’m personally interested in, so that makes the process an enjoyable one for me. I have a very busy mind and I find it hard to do nothing, I find sitting down and focusing my energies on cutting out intricate bits is kind of therapeutic to me.
D: What type of material do you find yourself drawn to the most for your work?
J: Skulls, snakes, ruins, trees, eyes, fire, All that good ole witchy stuff! I love to work with nature and space magazines for backgrounds and sometimes depth. I’m drawn to anything that can be turned on its head and made to become slightly sinister.
D: The materials you use help imbue many of your collages with a sort of ‘folk horror’ vibe. Would you say that’s intentional? We’ve seen you posting about several classic folk horror/cosmic horror authors in the past, have those works in any way influenced your own artistic worldview?
J: I think so. I don’t set out for that to happen but subconsciously it does. I have a tendency to obsess over certain myths and lore and If I come across an author who touches on those areas, I have to read all their works. When I look back on certain pieces I’ve made, I can see how I might have interpreted something I’ve read, it might be a ritual or some angry, old god. I think what I read and what I create go hand in hand.
D: I can definitely relate to that sentiment. Would you mind sharing some of the artists/works that have influenced either your own style or your overall worldview as an artist? Who/what originally guided you onto the path of the mystical and macabre?
J: As a kid I was always drawn toward myths and legends and fairy tales. They always seemed to have these dark twists and characters that interested me. I had this copy of Grimm’s fairy tales which was illustrated with woodcut-looking images that I would try to copy.
I also remember being quite young and scanning through my uncle’s vinyl collection which was mostly 80’s Metal and 70’s Rock. It was something I would do each time I visited, I loved it! Those witches and cloaked figures and skulls really stuck with me.
As I got older I became aware of the familiar names within Surrealism like, Dali, Leonora Carrington, Hans Bellmer, Ithell Colquhoun, Max Ernst. I gained my confidence to make art for myself from them. Since I started reading and researching more into occult/esoteric subjects, I’ve been introduced to artists that speak to me more directly, like Austin Osman Spare, Rosaleen Norton, Marjorie Cameron, Vali Mayers and Ethel le Rossignal, Frieda Harris, just to name a few.
D: Now, you’ve made many, many fantastic collages in the past. Could you show us one or two of your personal favorites and tell us a little about them?
J: It was kind of hard to choose, but looking at these two makes me happy. Both are untitled (like most of my works).
I chose the first, which was made in 2019, because it displays a kind of duality to me. There’s two paths to take – the raw perilous one, guarded by the vulture, and the more serene one, watched over by the angel. At the centre of them both is an eye, overseeing the choice the figure will make. I love the colours and numerous layers in this piece. It was a start of a new way of working for me, My decision-making became more conscious from then on out.
The second piece I chose is a more recent one. It’s a much simpler piece, consisting of only two images in total. Coming across the seated figure with his projected shadow, it spoke to me of the ‘shadow’ and how Jung interprets it. I decided to use the body as a sacred place and cut out the gothic/stained glass window shape into the back to represent this. Playing with the ideas of hermetic order, As within, As without, I felt the need to use an image of the cosmos to play on that idea, but also selecting a colour that looks a tad visceral.
D: Cool picks! The image of the vulture with the carcass in the first one is really powerful. The piece depicts the opposite paths of peril and serenity – which of the two would you say applies most to you, in particular when it comes to your creative endeavors? Are you a risk-taker, generally speaking?
J: Probably somewhere between the two. Being a wife and a mother brings out my lighter, more sensible and contented side. Making art is something I do when I need to go inwards. I tend to make my best pieces when my mood has been heavier and I allow myself to indulge in that. It’s not very perilous though, just sat on my living room floor, smoking some and listening to music.
I wouldn’t say I’m a risk taker, I overthink things too much to be one.
D: I absolutely hear you on the overthinking part!
As you’ve already mentioned, you are both a full-time mother and a full-time artist. I can’t imagine that always being very easy! How have you managed to maintain the balance between these two sides of your life? Do you ever involve your family in the collage making process, or is that strictly a ‘me-time’ type of thing for you?
J: You’re right, it’s not always easy, but I try to use my free time wisely. My youngest two children used to get involved back in the early stages of my collage making. Nowadays they are busy doing their own things, which is a good thing. It’s important for kids to know that people need to have something for themselves. They do ask to see what I’m making sometimes and the usual response is ‘that’s creepy and cool’.
D: “Creepy and cool” is a pretty damn apt description of your work, all things considered. Great to hear that they’re interested in & supportive of what you do!
As you’ve already mentioned before, you’re currently based in London. Everyone knows it’s quite a bustling city & I reckon there’s probably always something going on out there as far as the world of art and culture goes. How’s the local (dark) art scene? Do you have any favorite haunts you’d recommend to our readers?
J: To be honest, I haven’t come across a dark art scene as such. What I mostly see is one off exhibitions that are self-curated by the artists themselves or dark arts craft markets, which are cool. A good one is The Satanic Flea Market, they host a few times a year (check their Insta page).
There used to be galleries that exhibited such works but the rents in London are extremely high, causing places like that to close.
London does however have so many macabre/strange places to visit that aren’t directly art related, but are great sources of inspiration. My personal favourites are The Old Operating Theatre, The London Mithraeum, The Hunterian museum, The Clink Prison, The Collage of Psychic Studies, and the British Museum, which has such beautiful artefacts as Dr. John Dee’s scrying mirrors.
D: Really? I’m somehow surprised to hear that, though I guess it is indeed hard to get by with this kind of niche thing in today’s economy.. Still, I’m very glad to hear that people are making their own individual contributions to keeping the darkness alive. That dark flea market looks like it’d be fun, wish there was more of that kind of thing around here!
Following up on that, a completely different question (but one I like to ask all of our interviewees) – what have been some of your proudest achievements of your career as an artist so far?
J: It’s funny because I don’t really see my art as a career, you know. It’s just something I do for myself, mostly. I have had some cool album cover commissions that I’m happy to have made, though.
I think what I am proud of is the fact I’m still going, ha!
I have all of my work stored away in archival boxes and sometimes I go through them and look back. I can appreciate how it has evolved and that’s a good feeling. I kinda hope that one day my kids will have a good look through and realise ‘yeah, Mum was fucking bonkers’ . That thought makes me smile.
D: It’s nice to just dig through those really old pieces, isn’t it? Sometimes you end up stumbling onto something you don’t even remember making.. That’s happened to me a couple of times by now, at least.
I definitely hope they will as well! You’ve created so many beautiful pieces so far, it would make for an amazing collection to browse through.
Despite mainly creating for yourself & for its own sake, is there still anything on your creative bucket list that you’d like to one day have a go at?
J: Yeah, I do like stumbling across the old ones. There’s been times when I’ve looked at one and thought, I’m gonna rework this, and I enjoy doing that.
I would like to create some book covers. I get a lot of inspiration from reading so it would be cool to merge the two. And I’m still hoping to make a tarot deck one day.
D: Would love to see you get around to making a tarot deck! I bet you’d do a great job at that.
As my final question to you, have you got any upcoming projects or features for us to look forward to, any songs that won’t get out of your head, a new favorite film or anything else you’d like to plug?
J: Nope, nothing planned so far. I’m wanting to experiment with some different techniques though, so I’m setting some time aside to do that. I also have a shit load of books I need to get through, stuff that needs time to be absorbed. I get these seasonal obsessions. Lately I’ve been enjoying Russian Sci-fi films, Aleksei German’s ‘Hard To Be A God’ is a great, grueling, epic and ‘Stalker’ by Andrei Tarkovsky is heartbreakingly beautiful and poetic. Both are based on books and are quite long but definitely worth watching. Music-wise, I’ve been listening to American guitarist John Fahey a lot recently, ‘I Am The Resurrection’ is the most stunning piece of music, it has these high and low moments then just soars at the end. I never get bored of it.
D: Thank you so much for taking the time to answer some of my questions, Jodie!