Marlies Oakley | Spartacus

(Ed: I snapped this pic in Marlies’s studio yesterday!)

Imagine thousands of postage stamps, organised into tubs of colours and themes, then meticulously trim their contents over and over and over again, arrange and adhere them to suit their intended subject, then repeat! This, my friends, is the work of Bundaberg collage artist Marlies Oakley.

There are some extraordinary examples of the postage stamp work in Marlies’s series Nothing New and Nothing New 2 on her website.

Marlies has been working with other imagery in recent times but has returned to the stamp medium to create some of the most beautiful studio dogs in the world (Ed: may be bias here). Quite often we spend a half day in each others studio, and have been doing so through this distancing period. It’s incredibly motivating to team up with another maker and we get an insane amount of work done while we listen to music or Jerry Saltz interviews (get to work you big babies) or just enjoy the sounds of each other scruffling away on our projects.

I can’t wait to show you her pieces for FOUND! Studio Dog, until then have wander through her website or instagram page where you can see her weekly paste up collage (and even order a tee shirt from your favourite collage!)

Marlies, what is your art practice?
As a collage artist my main love is ‘cutting and gluing’. My collage works are all intricately hand cut, with no digital trickery. I construct my paper collages using images sourced from new and vintage magazines, discarded used books, encyclopaedias and postage stamps, and whatever else I can lay my hands on. With each image being used only once, the artworks are totally original and are caught in a time and place.  

“The images are my paint. The scissors are my brush.”

(Ed: Click for Marlies’s Edward Scissorhands piece here :-0 )

Marlies and Spartacus (aka Sparti, Spargle, Party Cat, Monkey Cat, Spitz).

Who is your studio companion?
Aloof studio cat, Spartacus, 16 years old, whose harshest critique is to “spray” on an art work (it’s only happened once). I have many adopted studio dogs – Sunday, Lexie, Willow and Zorro, and Kali, and a lot of geckoes.

What are you working on in your studio now?
Based on my previous work—creating famous portraits using thousands of hand cut, recycled postage stamps—I am currently working on portraits of the three “famous” Bundaberg dogs.

How has the current imposed isolation changed what you’re doing? Has something really surprised you during this transition to ‘artist in quarantine’?
Quarantine hasn’t really happened for me as I’ve had an art shop to run, and everyone in isolation needs art supplies. But I do seem to have lost my mojo, as we sit here in anticipation, wondering how this will all unfold.

I had so many grand plans but have ‘lost it’. So many deadlines have gone, there has been lots of organising, and then re-organising, my studio has never ever been tidier.   

Marlies Oakley, The man with a red turban (after van Eyke), 2018, 61cm x 45cm.

One thought on “Marlies Oakley | Spartacus

  1. A terrific insight of the artist and her explorations. I look forward to seeing her work.
    Spraying can have many connotations. Maybe it was a reminder to seal the work.
    Pets are great supporters. My cats love to add texture to my work.


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