Painting with Scissors

Collage artist Maxie Sutton Perez recalls being interested in art and painting since she learned how to hold a pencil in her hand. Originally from Newport Beach, CA, and brought up with limited resources for formal schooling or supplies, she took advantage of whatever materials she could get her hands on to create whimsical drawings and paintings.

One ordinary evening, some 27 years ago, Sutton Perez, now a registered nurse, had enjoyed a casual dinner with friends and family. She was 27 at the time. In the middle of the night, a sharp pain woke her, and she was rushed to a nearby hospital. Less than 24 hours later, she had inexplicably lost all mobility in the lower half of her body. Since then and despite multiple similar case studies researched, her condition has neither deteriorated, nor improved. Fearful of not being able to further her artistic pursuits, she slowly developed her own unique way of holding her tools with whatever dexterity was left in her hands.

She discovered Puerto Vallarta thanks to longtime friend Jeri Grant, who had relocated here to open a bed and breakfast. Banderas Bay cast its spell upon her immediately, and she remained here for the next nine years. Although she eventually returned to Newport Beach for a time, she now considers Puerto Vallarta her permanent home.

Pursuing collage work formally took some time, self-assurance and the constant encouragement of those around her through small greeting cards she began creating two years ago. Drawn to female artists—Frida Kahlo, in particular—since her teens, she enjoys a keen fascination with deceased divas. “If a glamorous person dies, there is no reason she should lose that glamour in the afterlife,” she explains.

Her method? Sutton Perez creates works that are both magical and photorealistic by literally taping pieces of paper over the computer screen where images of her subjects are displayed, and then carefully tracing their most important features. And when it comes to cutting, each scissor stroke requires prying them open with her mouth. Every single one! When one takes a close look at the enormous amount of detail on each of the layers of paper required to create one of these masterpieces, it is virtually impossible not to feel humbled by this artist’s patience, dedication, perseverance and talent.

She is currently working on a new collection in hopes of a solo show, her biggest dream, at a place where people can enjoy a fun eating and drinking event, while they become acquainted with her creations. In the meantime, you can do so by visiting The Loft Galeria in El Centro, where she is presently represented.