Black Market Vendor: An Interview with Sarah Judge

SarahSarah Judge a.k.a. Mizz Judge is a New West designer and artist who specializes in hand-cut paper collage. Her work recontextualizes vintage magazines into wry, contemporary designs that eschew traditional gender roles. You can meet Sarah and see her work at Black Market, the new all-female pop-up shop that runs May 28-May 29 from 10am to 4:30pm at Old Crow Coffee.

10th: How did you get started? Were you always interested in collage? What’s your background?

SJ: When I was a teenager I used to collage my walls, and wooden furniture with cuttings from old magazines. I’ve always been interested in vintage print material, specifically advertisements and their composition. My interest in that aesthetic led me to the Graphic Design program at the Art Institute of Vancouver where I graduated from in 2010. I knew there was more to collage than just scissors and glue. I soon learned how to make digital collages which enabled me to bend, flip and scale the imagery. I remember being told that using collage would make it difficult for potential clients to see my versatility, but in my senior quarter I found the encouragement to pursue it wholeheartedly.

10th:  Do you only work in digital, or does paper still come into play? Where do you source your images?

SJ: Currently I do both digital and analog collage. Depending on the idea I have, I’ll either go straight to cutting or to scanning. I tend to only use a few images for each collage, and I won’t always know what I’m looking for until I find it. But there’s a stack of ideas on my desk at all times.

Paper comes first—feeling it, flipping it, experiencing the texture and vintage colour saturation of each photo.

Everything I use comes from my hard copy collection that seems to be growing at a rapid rate. Collage artists have a way of acquiring large amounts of material: it never seems to be enough! I’ve learned to be thrifty and mindful, knowing exactly what I am looking for, and what it should cost. Though at times I get carried away, and buy the whole lot.

I source material from thrift stores, books sales, and antique shops. I’m also fortunate to have friends who keep their eyes open for me. Recently a friend gave me a stack of National Geographic magazines, and last weekend another friend found a basket of nudie mags at a garage sale. I am truly thankful for these people.

10th: Traditional pornography is often viewed as exploitative toward women. Can we talk about why you choose to incorporate it into your work? What are you trying to achieve?

SJ: I am mindful of how others perceive the use of pornography, and I respect that it isn’t for everyone. Vintage pornography is like nothing else, I celebrate it as a time in history. These are truly beautiful women, many of whom I display in natural settings. I do not depict vulgar acts, and rarely incorporate the male form. At the end of the day, there’s a certain level of vulnerability in being an artist. I always welcome and respect the point of views of others, and hope they can see the humour and sincerity I bring to my work.

Chat with Sarah and enjoy drinks and music with other local artists at the Meet Your Makers launch party: Friday May 27 from 7pm to 10pm at Old Crow Coffee. The Black Market pop-up shop runs May 28-May 29 from 10am to 4:30pm. You can get a hold of them on Facebook and Instagram.