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Valheria Rocha Is The Collage Artist You Need to Know

If you haven’t already seen her eye-catching celebrity collages on Instagram, Valheria Rocha is the young photographer-slash-artist you should keep an eye on. Her art is a visual representation of youth culture today: colorful, unapologetic and magnetic. Playing with photography, text, illustration, objects, colors, and practically anything she can get her hands on, Rocha creates vibrant collage-style art, each piece with its own striking personality. Her art aesthetic ranges from ethereal to loud, and her color palette is inspired by both Wes Anderson films and pop culture. Rocha has collaborated on projects with big brands such as Puma, Free People, and Urban Outfitters, and publications such as Teen Vogue and Galore. Keep reading for our interview with the artist, where she talks color palettes, her creative process, and just how much she loves her dog.

Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m originally from Colombia but I grew up in the US, mainly, Atlanta, Georgia. I love being crafty, creative, painting my nails, and petting all the dogs. My grandparents were artists in Colombia so I was introduced to art at a very young age. I love old music, and memories and things that remind me of the past.  My favorite place is any beach, anywhere. I don’t know what I want to end up doing with my career, but I want it to include traveling, meeting amazing people, making cool art, and an office dog.

How would you explain your art to someone who has never seen it before?

Color is very important in my work. I think in color schemes and palettes. I usually photograph people, mostly my friends or people I meet on Instagram. I usually think of my images as stills from a movie, like little moments frozen in time from a greater story. My collage work is just for fun. I pick people I want to do a collage about, things that make me think of them or that I like and put it together.

You do both photography and collage art, which came first?

Photography! Collage was something I had never done until my last year of University. I was taking a fashion photography class and our teacher challenged us to do something different than basic editorial work. I wanted to try something really fun and creative and colorful and something I had never done before.

What was the first piece of work you did for someone else?

I think it was doing press shots for my ex boyfriend’s band, LOL. They used to help me on all my school projects because they were beautiful boys, and then I ended up doing their first serious EP cover. I had never had my work be used for anything important before, so it was pretty cool.

What does your typical day look like?

Get up. Cuddle with my dog. Make tea. Cuddle with my dog some more. Depending on what I’m working on… I’m either shooting, collaging, editing, meeting with someone, coordinating a shoot, at one of my various odd jobs… I try to work out almost every day (and I fail almost every day), go home, hug my dog, make dinner, work someone on whatever project I’m working on, maybe watch some FRIENDS or something with my dog, go to sleep by midnight… gotta get those 7+ hrs of sleep!!!

Each of your collages has a life of its own. Where do you get your inspiration?

Honestly Wes Anderson is my biggest creative inspiration. I have a PDF of all the color palettes used in every one of his films and I pull from that for my inspiration.  Also, I love collecting fashion magazines because I can cut out textures, and different elements to use in my collages. I’d also say Pop Culture and whatever music I’m currently listening to is a big inspiration.

Favorite project so far? And the worst?

Favorite project would probably have to be my shoot with Shannon Purser, who played Barb on Stranger Things and was on NBC’s RISE. I pulled that shoot together the night before. Shannon was super cool to work with, so kind and down to earth… she let me do all my weird ideas.  At one point, I felt weird asking her to hold some tiny hands on top of her eyes, but she laughed and did it and it’s my favorite picture. Fortunately for me, I don’t think I’ve had a bad enough experience with a shoot to have something labeled as my WORST shoot… knock on wood…

Do you listen to music while you work?  If so, who?

I have to. I usually like to edit to old music, the Smiths, Leonard Cohen, The Four Tops, Mammas and the Papas, ABBA, Fleetwood Mac, I don’t know, people like that! Or newer artists like Lana del Rey, Beulah, Angus and Julia Stone, and artists that have a more vintage sound!

Anything we should look out for in the future?

YESSSS, gotta new shoot with Shannon Purser that I’m doing this month and a few other cool people I’m working with!

Images courtesy of Valheria Rocha

Stay tuned to Milk for more artists we love.

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