Sunday, 24 October 2010

MEET: Lola Dupré, a Girl with Kaleidoscope Eyes

Don't baulk at her outlandish exterior, it's rude. Well it might be if this were her; in fact Lola Dupré - or Wasted Lola, as she goes by on her blog - describes herself as a "bearded recluse" who spends most of her time hanging out in the Scottish Highlands, cutting up faces and sticking them back together with PVA glue. But that doesn't really paint a better picture of her (excuse the pun). No, Lola isn't some kind of Scottish Quasimodo, but a talented and enigmatic artist. Her work presents a kaleidscopic vision of the human face, bent and warped, haunting yet strangely arresting. I tracked down Lola for a chat that quickly turned from matters of art to her "glue" addiction, crazed paedophiles, and why she's not into voodoo photomontage...

We know you as Wasted Lola (at - but who are you really? Tell us about yourself.
I'm just a country girl at heart, living out most of my time in my cottage in the highlands of Scotland. Generally not too wasted these days, except for the odd relapse! I spent most of my youth bumming around Europe, playing on the party scene and getting wasted... but those experiences were what formed my ideas for the artworks you see today. These days I'm a bearded recluse living out my memories through the tactile manipulation of paper, and I love it. I'm addicted to scissors and PVA glue!

Do you have any formal artistic training or are you self-taught?
I'm self-taught, but working in "The Chateau", a reclaimed art space in Glasgow, really helped to develop my talents. Working with the fantastic group of creatives incuding: Yvonne Chiffon, FiST, Heather Lander, Clementina Fletcher, Mel Wills, and so many more talents, encouraged me to explore various disciplines and develop my skills. I never went to art school, and most people I know who did tell me that I'm a lucky girl.

How do you make your art?
I always make it by hand. I have a natural talent for murdering technology, and I prefer the tangible results of traditional media... and the carpet of paper on my studio floor! But let's see, the list of ingredients would be:
8 hours a day in the studio
3 pairs of scissors
3 glue brushes
1 bucket of the finest polyvinylacetate money can buy
1 table
1 lamp
a sprinkling of image prints
... and a whole of patience!

So you create photomontages; are you a dadaist?
No, but I hope to be a mama some day!

Touché! How would you describe your work then?
My work is about the manipulation of form. I remember as a child in France, my parents took me to a fair where there was a hall of mirrors. I spent hours marvelling at the alluring and sinister metamorphosis of forms. And that's what I explore in my art: the endless variations you can achieve from an original image. That's why I sometimes make multiple works from the same image; it's like producing different offspring from the same DNA.

Did you own a kaleidoscope as a child? Or have you ever smashed a mirror?
No but I owned a mirror and smashed a kaleidoscope! No, I see where you're coming from with that question... My ideas come from a broad range of stimuli. Experience has given me the ability to look at my subject and see a distorted reflection looking back at me; the complexity of the refraction is visible to me from the outset.

Do you ever frighten yourself when you compose one of your distorted faces? (I'm thinking about the Pope Benedict portrait in particular.)
I never frighten myself; I find my work amusing, and if by chance they end up looking like a crazed paedophile then so be it! I think Pope Benedict is a political figure, and a terrible one. When I do a portrait like that, it's not hard to see the demented evil behind the subject!

So do you think that when you "reconfigure" a face, you dehumanize it or accentuate its true character?
That's a complex question and depends for the most part on the particular photomontage. Usually I think I accentuate the true character of the subject but present a different version of the same features.

Do you enjoy cutting up people's faces?
Yes, but I try to keep it purely within the confines of the realm of art. Essentially I am a cosmetic surgeon reworking the idea of beauty. My work is certainly a far cry from artists such as Orlan who manipulate the body directly. But I think there's a connection there, albeit a small one.

Have you done a distorted portrait of an ex, voodoo style?
No I would never do that as I have too much respect and feeling for my lovers. And it would belittle everything that I stand for. No, I would never seek revenge through photomontage... not yet anyway!

Do you collaborate?
Yes! Collaboration is a big part of my work. I work mainly with photographers and I've published several editorials. I'll definitely be doing more of that in the future; I'm always looking for ideas and proposals from photographers and other creative professionals. I do it for the opportunity to work with people who are creating fantastic imagery. I see it as a stepping stone to commercial work in the future.

What's inspiring you most in the art world right now?
It's a small answer but, the wonderful people and atmosphere in my current studio, "The Chalet" in Glasgow.

This interview was originally done for and published on Vice Belgium.

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