Intermission by Corinne Geertssen


It’s been a very exciting first act and the troupe needs a break. Come back for the second act after we tidy up a bit.

Art & Life with CORINNE GEERTSEN Voyage Phoenix

Today we’d like to introduce you to Corinne Geertsen.

Corinne, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
I always drew. I began with a purple crayon in a closet.

My dad was a psychologist in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Psychologists then would show people sets of psychologically loaded drawings and ask them to make up a story about each picture. I thought these drawings were very powerful and I was fascinated by the ties between the vivid images and stories. Because of this, I’m able to move between storyline and image and back again as I work, embellishing with psychological twists.

I’ve always loved old photos. My great-great-grandfather was a partner for a time with the photographer George Edward Anderson, who traveled Utah from 1878 to 1928. Many of my family’s old photos were taken by him. His portraits bring out the individuality of his subjects, often in a startling way. Many of them look as if they were taken yesterday. I often use these photos in my work.

Animals are essential in my life and work. When I was seven, I dragged a horse home and put him in the backyard, in case he was lost. I’ve always had animals by my side. I like to have odd human/animal partnerships in my works, which often reveal what it’s like to be human.

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
I make digital photo collages. I assemble my works in Photoshop from photos of my ancestors, photos I take myself, and things I paint and then photograph. I make ancestor adoptions at antique stores. My personal photo archive contains over 50,000 images and is still growing.

In 2006, I took a Photoshop course to restore old family photos. Two weeks into the class I began seeing my ancestors as characters in dramas. Obviously, Aunt Hattie needed a rhinoceros.

I’m on a constant photographic scavenger hunt, outfitting ancestors with backdrops, sidekicks and belongings.

Working digitally dovetails nicely with the way my mind works. I worked over the years in many different media, not quite finding one that fit my voice. When I found Photoshop, I felt I had discovered the other half of the map.

My work spans more than a century and a half of technology. I use Civil War and Victorian era studio portraits as source material, yet I use digital cameras and work on a computer with massive memory, deep within the intricacies of Photoshop. I enjoy the contrasts and challenges of working with multiple technologies.

I print my work myself in small editions on archival photo paper with pigment inks.

My images are quirky visual narratives. I like a good plight. My art leans toward surrealism with odd juxtapositions, non-sequiturs, and an element of surprise.

What I hope people take away from my work:

  1. My work mirrors personal, political and global situations in a sly way.
  2. My work is about humor, fear, rescue, wonder, curiosity, individuality, absurdity. It’s about living. I want someone to look at my work and feel deeply what it is to be alive.

Artists rarely, if ever pursue art for the money. Nonetheless, we all have bills and responsibilities, and many aspiring artists are discouraged from pursuing art due to financial reasons. Any advice or thoughts you’d like to share with prospective artists?
Find work that leaves you with time to make your art. Find a job adjacent to the art world if possible.

Subscribe to and take advantage of the AZ Commission on the Arts Opportunities Newsletter.

Find artists in your area and work to form a tight-knit artist community. Support your peers.

Work continuously. Enjoy your creativity.

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
My work can be seen at Gebert Contemporary in Scottsdale, Arizona, Haven Gallery in Northport, New York, Meyer Gallery in Park City, Utah and the Phillips Gallery in Salt Lake City.

My work will be in a group exhibition “We Believe” at the Shemer Museum in Phoenix from October 11th to November 8th, 2018.

I have a solo show at the Phillips Gallery in Salt Lake City October 19th to November 9th, 2018.

Benefit Concert by Corinne Geertsen

Benefit Concert

Deer Gardener by Corinne Geertsen, digital art, digital collage

Deer Gardener

Founding Members of the Wildlife Society by Corinne Geertsen, digital art, digital collage

Founding Members of the Wildlife Society

Singing Lesson by Corinne Geertsen

Singing Lesson

Stopping by Woods Corinne Geertsen Digital Art

Stopping by Woods

The Blessing by Corinne Geertsen

The Blessing

The Board of Directors Takes up the Cat Problem Corinne Geertsen

The Board of Directors Takes up the Cat Problem

The Kiss by Corinne Geertsen, Digital Art, Digital Collage

The Kiss

Click to download PDF of article.

Benefit Concert

Benefit Concert by Corinne Geertsen

Benefit Concert

Here’s a freshly finished work, “Benefit Concert”. While I was working, I was thinking about the Lady and the Unicorn tapestries at the Cluny Museum in Paris. They’re about the six senses and are done in the  mille-fleurs  (thousand flowers) style. I’ve loved them since I saw them and I’m excited to reference them in one of my works.

Here’s the Cluny tapestry about hearing:

Hearing, Cluny tapestry

I have a solo show at The Phillips Gallery in Salt Lake City October 19th until November 9th. The opening is the evening of October 19th. You’re invited! Benefit Concert will be in the show.

The Kiss

The Kiss by Corinne Geertsen, Digital Art, Digital Collage

The Kiss

The Kiss: a reckless moment, out of control, but headed in the right direction. On December 7th, 2015 I sat in our backyard and took 57 photos of grackles in flight. These are my favorite individual birds from those photos, made into a custom flock. Click on the photo to see it a bit bigger. When I began this work, its title was “Transported”. A friend suggested “Pining”.  Sometimes you just have to call a kiss a kiss.

Founding Members of the Wildlife Society

Founding Members of the Wildlife Society

Here we see an outsider blending in. Most of the members are trying to look dignified for the camera, but one has suspicions.

Watch out for the yawning bear. If you have her over, she’ll steal your silverware.

Ravens can look like parentheses.

We can print HUGE now!

Here is The Board of Directors Takes Up the Cat Problem at 51″ wide and 30″ high. It’s an edition of three. There’s one left in the edition.

The Board of Directors Takes up the Cat Problem by Corinne Geertsen

The Board of Directors Takes up the Cat Problem

You can see this one at the Gebert Contemporary Gallery in Scottsdale, Arizona.

It’s a blast to make this print huge. It’s printed by Image and Frame in Scottsdale and framed by Bill’s Custom Frames in Tempe. They’re both fabulous.

Tea: Playing with Time in Art

Tea by Corinne Geertsen, digital art, digital collage


It’s far more interesting to show the moment before something happens, rather than to show it while it’s happening. Time can become a strong element in a work of art. If art like this were a book, we would all want to read the next chapter.

The moment after something happens can be just as fascinating. It’s like looking at the aftermath of a train wreck. Here’s Charm:

Charm by Corinne Geertsen, digital art, digital collage


Umbrella Test

Umbrella Test by Corinne Geertsen, Digital Art, Digital collage

Umbrella Test

This bear is a professional umbrella tester. The light changes. He falls. The umbrella is tested.

The man is forever clueless. That’s part of the test. You never know when calamity strikes.

The bear is calm, even nonchalant. He does it all day. He brings a lunch.

I made the bear from photos of different bears and bear taxidermy. I made bear brushes in Photoshop and painted bear parts. There’s a lot of homemade Photoshop bear hair.

There were many versions of the bear. It would have been easier to take my camera to the Department of Umbrella Testing.

I believe I am now qualified to Photoshop glamour bears on the covers of fancy bear magazines. Ugly bears can be made lovely. Bears can be made from nothing at all.


The Tree Collector and his Dog

The Tree Collector and his Dog Corinne Geertsen Digital Art

The Tree Collector and his Dog

Things are not looking good for trees. (Just look out the window.) The tree collector begins his life’s work.

His dog gets into the spirit by rounding up a stray branch here and there.

Many thanks to the Tempe History Museum for allowing use of the photo of this diligent young man, Civil War era.


Sanctuary Corinne Geertsen


Some people have a natural gift for keeping others safe.

This work has a hill from a photo my husband took in Hong Kong in the 1970’s and dandelions from a hike in the Sierras last summer. Good advice: take a photo of a sparrow whenever you see one – you never know when you’ll need it.