Where Beauty is Strange and Creatures Are Curious: ​Katie McCann’s Collage Art

When it comes to paper cutting, collage artist ​Katie McCann admits to having an obsession, amassing quite the paper collection of moths, fungi, feathers, coral, shells and butterfly wings. Those are then arranged in careful compositions, with the finished result being a place where beauty is strange, creatures are curious and a sense of wonder prevails.

Originally from England and currently based in Berkeley, California, McCann’s creative passion sparked early on, taking to painting, drawing, cutting, and reading from a very young age. “I ended up going to fashion school and working in the industry for a little while but after I moved to the USA with my family I started painting again and taking art classes,” she relayed in an interview with Jung Katz. “I became fascinated with collage and eventually gave up the paintbrush and took up the scissors.”

Now, armed with just a pair of scissors, she creates her intricate, hand cut collages, which she admits reflect her Victorian obsession with faeries, flora, and fauna. Those are collected from her large collection of books, prints, and pages that are antique, forgotten, and foxed with age. “I cut out images, categorize them and then eventually piece them together like a complex paper jigsaw,” she explains on her website.

A common theme throughout her work is the female face, which often acts as a reflection of the natural and sometimes magical world. She can be surrounded by birds, fish, and butterflies or submerged in a dense wallpaper pattern which either represents her prison or her liberation.

Here are some highlights from McCann’s rich portfolio: