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.


Jan Carlos Natano

“I’m completely surrounded by distractions constantly. 




Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? 

I’m a former eSports player and currently pursuing a degree in Illustration.


How much experience do you have with collage?

This is my 5th year of college. Covid-19 made classes tricky to get around for a long time so its taken a while.


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?

I wanted a bit of a challenge and at the same time, I was already limited at home with what I could use as a source, so I chose 2 Prada catalog booklets and a larger catalog with scenery and repetitive backgrounds.


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?

There wasn’t really a plan for the collages. I just let my mind wander while cutting the scraps, arranging and rearranging the photos, cutouts, and tears.


How did your background and life experiences inform your collages?

I was always the pack-mule of the family, constantly carrying items and doing tasks even while on vacation so I could barely enjoy myself or the environment around me. Coming from less fortunate circumstances, I know the allure of wanting to spend money and showing off, however it takes away from the important things in life, like experiencing the scenery and ecosystem on the top of an island.


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?

I’m completely surrounded by distractions constantly. From pets, movies playing on my second monitor, to my parents constantly telling me to clean up messes that they created in the kitchen. I think taking breaks from the collages to do something else had me thinking about and rearranging my collage work in ways I wouldn’t have thought about if I never took a break.

  1. Scissors or X-Acto?


Scissors or X-Acto?

X-Acto blades are my preference. Scissors and shaky hands don’t work as well as a blade pressed into a cutting matt for stability.


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

I wouldn’t say that there was anything that was unexpected. I just let my mind go blank and make collages and patterns.


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

To be honest, when I first started, I had absolutely no direction for the collages at all. A hidden meaning emerged from rearranging the graphics in certain ways, so I stuck with that and tried to emphasize it.


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

Covid put all of my work on the back burner. I quit doing art for a while mainly so I could support myself and my pets as we were struggling at the time financially. Coming back to art, it feels like my designs have matured, and have gotten simplified yet uses design principles more efficiently and more impactfully.