Cohort 52 is a platform for emerging voices from the Applied Art & Design program at Sierra College in Northern California. Cohort 52 is facilitated by Assistant Professor Vincent Pacheco.


Hunter Sweeney

“I have had a love for art my entire life…



Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? 

My name is Hunter, I’m 22 and this is my third year at Sierra College. I have had a love for art my entire life, and I am now working at making a career in art, through digital art specifically, which is my preferred medium.


How much experience do you have with collage?

I’d say I have a fair amount of experience with collage. I have taken a few courses in the past, as well as classes in high school that had at least one if not more collage based assignments in the curriculum, so I’ve had some practice with them.


Collage artists tend to be picky when it comes to their source material. Can you talk about your approach for selecting your images and/or publications?

The main publication I used for my collages were National Geographic issues. There are two main reasons for this, which is that I honestly did not have too many resources openly available to me to use for this project, as my house does not have very many magazines around, and we do not currently have a working printer, so all my printing has to be done at places such as Staples, so I had to work with what I had. Due to this I did realize that nature and animals could be a really great subject to focus on for the theme of my collages.


Were there any large themes you intended to explore or unpack before you began with this series of work? Did you stay on theme, or did things change as you began physically cutting and pasting images?

As stated in the previous answer, my main theme I wanted to focus on was nature and animals. I did however, stumble upon a different theme to add to the idea I already had in mind, which was the theme of humans’ interaction with nature, as I have mentioned in a few of the past discussions on the subject of the collages/zine.


How did your background and life experiences inform your collages?

The main aspect of my life experience and background that informed my collages is my love of nature and animals. As I stated in my first discussion of the first collage drafts, I love visiting zoos and aquariums, as well as going out in nature, such as forests and beaches.


What was your environment and set-up like when making the work? Did you listen to music? Did you work in isolation, or were you surrounded by distraction? Do you think this influenced the work you made?

Primarily, the collages were created from my desk in my room, in the evenings with music playing. I worked mostly in isolation, but I also had my brother hanging out with me a few times as well. I don’t believe that there were any physical distractions, however I did have a few times where I felt stressed with the workload I had ahead of me with the collages, especially with the work I had for other classes in my mind as I was working, I do believe this may have potentially influenced my work, but I couldn’t say for sure.


Scissors or X-Acto?

For this particular assignment, I used a little bit of both. I used an X-Acto knife for the bigger cuts, and 2 different sizes of scissors for the more refined cuts around the objects for each piece.


Was there anything unexpected that emerged while creating your work? Any new epiphanies?

As I mentioned in the answer for question 4, an unexpected epiphanie i had while making my  collages was the concept of human interference with nature that I tried to show with some of my designs.


Looking at your work again, has your understanding of your collages changed over time? Has any hidden meaning emerged?

Looking at my collages again, at the time of answering this question, I can say that I appreciate them more than when I originally made them. When I initially made the collages, I was a little down on myself over the designs. Now I value them a lot more. I will say that a new hidden meaning that I have realized is the circle of life aspect of each collage.


Many artists are using the pandemic as a moment to pause and reflect. Do you think Covid-19 informed your work in any way? 

Although I also used the Covid era as a time to reflect, I don’t feel that the pandemic personally influenced my work in this case. I understand that it may have been a factor for some, but me personally, it did not really have an effect on my collages in any way.