by Meg Learson Grosso

Victoria Kann, has been on many magazine covers. Well, actually, it's her art work that has been on many magazine covers. Not that she isn't pretty enough to have been on the covers herself.

The young woman whose multi-media collages will appeared at the Westport Arts Center for ten days, has also designed and illustrated covers for Time, Newsweek, Business Week, and Harper's, to name just a few. She has created book covers and done many illustrations for the insides of magazines as well. "I love the interplay of words and images," said Kann and she is good at getting an idea across visually. Almost all of this work is drawn digitally in Photoshop, and working digitally makes Kann want to get her hands on things and "feel things" as a reaction. And so, she create collages, and it is these multi-media works that are in the juried show at the Westport Arts Center.

Kann is well-equipped to create collages. We're not referring to her degree from the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), or the fact that she teaches both collage and illustration at the School of Visual Arts, or the fact that she has also taught at Parson's and RISD. Though, of course, those are reasons, too. We mean that she collects lots of things with which she can create collages. "I love the tag sale," said Kann to a visitor, adding, "You can see what a pack rat I am." Well, not really. Her pack-rat-stuff is stored in orderly plastic boxes in her studio. Many boxes, but she's a very neat pack rat.

She collects old books, doilies, bits of fabric, old photographs, tiny shells and pebbles from the beach. You name it. A starfish cut from a French book about sea life, illustrations from a long-ago, crudely-colored children's coloring book (acquired at a tag sale from a mother who apparently never threw anything out) and other bits of this and that may, or may not be, recognizable in her collages, but they add up to a textured and fascinating whole. Kann created a delightful birdhouse collage by "destroying" a book. She took off the front cover, fanned the pages somewhat, stuck them together somehow, carved a hole in the pages and placed a nest inside the hole. The nest contains a wooden egg with a woman's face. But no verbal description will tell you about the colors or how lovely it really looks.

Field and Stream magazine commissioned art for an article on how to make fishing lures from whatever "garbage" one finds at the site where one is fishing. Gum wrappers, whatever. The resulting collage of a fish has fins made from a vegetable steamer, and includes caning from a chair, tiny pompoms, a tiny rubber stopper, bubble wrap and ribbed cardboard from light bulb packaging. "It's definitely play for me," said the woman who obviously enjoys her work.

Kann has most recently become an author, having written a book with her sister. "Pinkalicious" is about a little girl who ate too many pink cupcakes and turned pink and the bees buzzed around her and ... well, we won't spoil it. Of course, Kann illustrated the book.