Samantha Blinn is a mixed media artist who runs an online shop called Paper VS Glue. She makes really cool decoupage cigar boxes with vintage pin-up art on them as well as other vintage/retro themed boxes.
How long have you been doing these amazing collage boxes? How long have you had your website?
I’ve been creating my decoupaged boxes for around a year and a half. I started making them as gifts for friends and when other people saw the boxes, they began asking for custom boxes. I created my own site back in May of this year and I really am enjoying running my own business from my art.
What is your normal workflow? Do you just start cutting and pasting, or do you have a certain process for identifying the first key image to start with?
I first try to find publications that I find interesting. If I get bored with the piece, I move on to something else. That’s the great feature about decoupaging collage work. If you aren’t satisfied with a section, you can just cover it up with a new layer.
I pick out each individual piece and begin cutting many pieces. I don’t just cut out comic strips in squares. I cut out many intricate pictures and text and spread it out so I can start getting an idea of how I want to start building the collage. Often I will lay down a background first and build from there. It’s actually like using Colorforms from the 80’s (I’m old, so hopefully others remember Colorforms). I will place pieces on top of the background to get an idea and then I start gluing.
Where do you find all of these vintage magazines and boxes?
I have a very large number of cigar boxes stored pretty much everywhere in our home.
For publications I go to flea markets, estate sales, antique shops, comic book stores and online such as Etsy or Ebay. Family and friends also save items they think that I will like and give them to me. I love when they find books and whatnot for me because then they get to see what I create from it.
What do you do when you are not making cool boxes? What is a day in the life of Samantha Blinn like?
Well I became ill in November of last year which has left me disabled. So my main projects are building my inventory for my shop.
I am a huge film buff, music lover and a big, big boxing fan. I’m pretty much working on something most of the day while watching some crazy documentary. I also video blog about my illness.
What does the future hold for you? What are you working on next?
I’m focusing on building my business while trying to work on recovering from my illness. I’m actually first a photo realist painter and miniature dessert polymer clay jewelry maker, but due to my illness impacting my motor skills, those projects are on hold.
One of the reasons you chose decoupage as a medium is due to a specific health condition that you have?
I have Behcets Disease which is a rare autoimmune disease that attacks the vascular system, skin, eyes and multiple organs. But the doctors are unsure at this point what is causing my current symptoms. Back in November of last year, one day I had stroke-like symptoms and suddenly couldn’t walk. The tremors began to get increasingly worse. Before these neurological symptoms, I had the Behcets but I worked a very busy job as a Business Analyst. In November, I was in four hospitals, one of them was a physical rehabilitation hospital for a month. I lost my job due to my illness. The doctors thought that I had Functional Neurological Disorder, which is brought on by a traumatic event or tons of stress, but now the doctors are changing my diagnosis.
So I vlog about my experiences and people from all over the world are experiencing the same symptoms. If I can help someone not feel alone, then it makes me stoked to do it.
Not to be Velveeta cheesy, but I do believe everything happens for a reason. Now I have time to focus on my art and it has helped me mentally as well as physically. It’s great exercise for my hands and arms. I believe that my situation is temporary and I just keep looking and moving forward. And I plan to collage and decoupage my wheelchair!