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St Francis Elevator Ride: “Never settle in your work”

It’s one of the hottest art mediums of the moment – collage! I was lucky enough to do a short e-mail interview with my favorite collage artist, St Francis Elevator Ride.  I’ve been teaching Visual Communication at the Academie Artemis in Amsterdam for two years now. It’s a subject that starts off first-year students on their creative path, which is probably why I enjoy teaching it so much. From a maker’s standpoint, it’s a highly accessible medium and with a few pointers collages can help you to get across a powerful and often surprising visual message. However, collages can also be a frustrating affair with an endless search for just the right image to combine. St Francis Elevator Ride seems to pull it all off effortlessly and has, well elevated! collage to the next level. Let’s find out what he has to say!

Where do you find the images you use in your collages?

Visually, I’ve always been inspired by old things. Things just looked better to me 25-50 years ago, especially the photography and typefaces that were in advertisements and catalogs during that time period!

And how do you combine them?

I always aim to achieve a nice balance of vintage imagery with a surreal, contemporary aesthetic. To achieve this, I often marry low-brow retro ad clippings with images culled from old anatomy/botany texts to make something completely new, beautiful — and unsettling. I collect lots of mid-century source material from books and magazines depicting bygone days, most often those ranging from the 1950s to the 1980s. I scan the images so they can be cut, color-corrected, saturated appropriately and then finally collaged into an end product. Each work is enhanced through minimalist illustration and design practices, often resulting in surprising iterations of negative space.

I’ve always stuck to the philosophy that old things are good. New things are good too, but they lack a certain charm or interest simply by default because they are new. I think each consecutive generation has the anguish of artificial nostalgia for the relics of the generations who came before. It’s natural, and it’s always been that way. I like to capture that widespread feeling each generation has that makes precocious teenagers reference “the good old days” they were never a part of in the first place.

Do you have any tips you can share with the readers of 

As fas as any tips I might have, I’d offer to never settle in your work. Always look for ways to improve artistically, whether it be subjectively or technically. Always strive to be better in your craft.


St Francis Elevator Ride - Mainstream Portions

Mainstream Portions

St Francis Elevator Ride - Evelyn's Permitted Plains

 Evelyn’s Permitted Plains 

St Francis Elevator Ride - Pax in the Void

Pax in the Void 

St Francis Elevator Ride - Spun Out Over You

Spun Out Over You

St Francis Elevator Ride - L'Femme Retours

L’Femme Retours 

St Francis Elevator Ride - L'Homme Retours

L’Homme Retours 


Mechanical Art Affair

St Francis Elevator Ride - Palisade Drip

Palisade Drip

St Francis Elevator Ride - Paradise for the Archaic

Paradise for the Archaic

St Francis Elevator Ride - S A L I V A T I O N Gallery

S A L I V A T I O N 




Cover art for Trashy Records 

St Francis Elevator Ride - Viscera in Seclusion

Paradise for the Living

St Francis Elevator Ride - Dial 9 For Euphoria

Dial 9 for Euphoria


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