Tiny Talks with Kimberlee Frederick

Tiny Talks is an interview series with Tiny Spoon’s talented contributors. This week we spoke with Kimberlee Frederick from our tenth issue.

Tiny Spoon: What kindles your creativity?

Kimberlee Frederick: Over the past couple of years, I’ve spent a lot of time learning to become a lot more aware of sensations, of my physical experience of the world moment to moment. As it turns out, that’s an enormous driver of my creativity; I find that as soon as I have any curiosity, delight, or even resistance toward something I feel physically, I want to collage about it.

Talking to other creatives is the other sure-fire way for me to get the little buzz of urgency to make something. There’s something about discussion ideas, process, or (often) total silliness with others who love to create things that just deepens the pool of inspiration.

Tiny Spoon: Are there any artists/ heroines/ idols/ friends that you look up to?

Kimberlee Frederick: How does one whittle this list down?! I’m almost obnoxious in how much I look up to my friends and my family, as well as the artist communities I get to interact with both online and in Portland, Oregon. I’ll keep it at that, for fear of leaving out  someone who absolutely deserves to be mentioned.

I will call out Anais Nin specifically, though. Her powerful, grounded writing has been a recent obsession of mine, and reading her journals and essays frequently motivates me to start creating.

Tiny Spoon: Are there any natural entities that move your work?

Kimberlee Frederick: A lot of the collages I make are rooted in natural entities, actually. Specifically natural entities that are at odds with the body. I play around with mushrooms a lot, and bugs of all sorts. I can’t seem to stop combining vivid florals with grotesque anatomical imagery. I’ve been doing a lot of work recently with the ocean; I think it’s the tension of the terror and allure that really gets me.

Tiny Spoon: We love insight into the creative process. Could you share what it is like for you, either with your work that appears in Tiny Spoon or in general?

Kimberlee Frederick: The collage that was accepted to Tiny Spoon is a digital-analog hybrid piece, but it started its life as a cut-and-paste project. When I work manually like that, I tend to get started when a particular image in my stash of ephemera tugs at me and won’t let go. From there, I feel like I’m having a conversation with the narrative that underlies my initial attraction to the image: I ask it whether this cutout or that abstract color strip feels relevant; I sift through stacks and stacks of magazines and scraps and junk mail multiple times, adding and discarding elements in different configurations. I don’t actually know what really works about this process; I can’t even tell you how I know when I’m done. It’s extremely intuitive, and most of the time I don’t really know what the piece is trying to be until after it’s glued down and I go to name it.

When I assembled the collage submitted to Tiny Spoon, I didn’t realize how important it was to the figure in it that she kind of blended with the other mycological elements in the piece. Only when I went to name it and found that the muted color, her solitude among the mushrooms, and her posture conveyed hopelessness did I decide she wasn’t quite done saying what she needed to say. When I made the figure more inextricable from her surroundings, more of the mushrooms than among them, it felt finished.

That’s fairly indicative of the difference in approach to hand-cut versus digital collage: purely intuitive when cutting and pasting gives way to more conscious intentionality when I work digitally.

Tiny Spoon: Do you have any current or future projects that you are working on that you would like to share?

Kimberlee Frederick: I’m striving to develop a more consistent and evolving writing practice alongside my collage habit. I envision the two coming together in something like a chapbook that explores my desperate discomfort with dentistry, teeth, and their ilk.

Tiny Spoon: What book, artwork, music, etc., would you recommend to others?

Kimberlee Frederick: There’s so much cool, weird stuff that smaller presses and independent creators are putting out there!

Check out Wrong Publishing and Body Fluids Lit for regular doses of great weird poetry, flash, and art. I discovered a weird little book of stories called Melancholic Parables by Dale Stromberg through Wrong. Also the insultingly incisive poet Carina Solis.

Some great music is hitting Portland recently: Breezy the Band is killing it with their kitchen sink amalgam of rock/punk/hardcore/etc. and tremendous songwriting.

Lament Cityscape is making me rethink everything I thought I knew about loud industrial.

Fever Deacon goes so hard with layers and texture in his dark bass stuff; I never know if I want to dance or have an ego death when I listen.

Tiny Spoon: Where can people learn more about what you do?

Kimberlee Frederick: I keep my website pretty updated: www.kimberleefrederick.com

I’m on Instagram fairly regularly @unrealcitypdx.

Tiny Spoon: Do you have photographs or images you would like us to share?

Kimberlee Frederick: Yes, my studio assistants 🙂 Dale (left), Circe (top), Sampson (bottom)