About The Artist

Diane Bronstein • Fletcher, NC

My work recognizes a world where nature radically overtakes and changes our everyday life without our acknowledgement. Lava breaks through roads, wild vines crawl over buildings, trees grow in the middle of rooms. People walk through these landscapes, unaware of the constancy of nature around them. Using both vintage and original black and white photos, I collage, various parts of photos to “match” others. I want to create a scene that, on first glance, may appear “normal”, but after viewing, will reveal absurdity. My pieces use vintage photos and original photos of buildings and street scenes when I’ve traveled. Sometimes I incorporate figures from old “snapshots” into the scenes. These images become a mix of time and place. Life is going on, and most people are ignoring their surroundings. The people in these pieces are not looking at the actual scene they’re inhabiting, in the same way that humans are willfully ignoring our changing climate.


Artist website

Q&A with the Artist

Tell us how your work is made.

Using both original and vintage photographs, my work consists of heavily embroidering natural elements into urban environments. My decisions often include cutting parts of the photos to add to whole, either through actual photographs or printed on paper. I create off-kilter worlds with hundreds of thousands of knots and stitches often simulating painting techniques. My pieces consist of three-dimensional tree limbs, leaves, clouds, rocks, dirt and waves, some over an inch thick. Some of my pieces take months to complete. My technique is less traditional than embroidery, as I build the thick layers of floss. I primarily use knots, but will use other types of stitches if it enhances or mimics the subjects within the photos, Following the same theme and techniques, I work in both small and large pieces. I have created a series of ""little building"" using only one vintage photo and have embroidered onto the actual photographs.

What makes you passionate about the medium you work with?

My background as a graphic designer took me away from "hand" work and into the digital applications, My first love is drawing and I was particularly passionate about using color pencils and egg tempura techniques to build up dense, deeply colored areas. My embroidery involves layers of various colors which are embedded but peeking through. I love using the shadows within the photos and build up areas that would naturally cast shadows to cast actual shadows away from the two dimensional photographic surface.

What is something unique about you or your practice?

When first viewing my work, the street scenes or photographs seem pretty commonplace, but with the addition of the colorful embroidery, different parts of the images emerge and change. In my collages, streets that don't start and end in reality, look as if they do. Buildings from New Orleans or Washington, D.C., abut buildings from Brunswick, Maine. There's a commonplace feeling of these conglomerations, but they don't really make sense. Likewise, there are people who've I captured in my contemporary photographs that are sharing a street with people from other eras. Contemporary cars are parked near cars from over 70 years ago. The ""smashing"" together of time and place makes the total image somewhat disconcerting. In my ""little buildings"" photos, people actually appear from the flat surface of vintage photographs. Often in photos where the building or structure is dominant, small people can be found who would otherwise not be noticed. I like bringing these images back to reality.