A SINGLE IMAGE AND SPONTANEITY

AN INTERVIEW WITH VISUAL ARTIST GERI DIGIORNO

Geri Digiorno is Raleigh Review's official cover art artist and, in conjunction with cover designer Henry Kivett, earned a Gold Summit Creative Award for the Vol. 2 and Vol. 3 covers. Geri is not only a visual artist, but she was Sonoma Poet Laureate (2006-2007) and is founder and director of the Petaluma Poetry Walk. She studied art at College
of San Mateo, Solano College, Sonoma College, and Santa Rosa Junior College,
​and has worked at the homeless shelter in Petaluma teaching poetry and collage. Editor Rob Greene talked with Geri about her artistic process. 

RG: Your artwork has been featured on or in every Raleigh Review issue since our founding. Tell us about creating collages. How do you go about it?

I'm usually working on 3 or 4 [collages] at a time. I'm always looking for collage material. I start with one image that I like and then keep going. I always pick a size of the board and stick with that to let it all happen. I'm inspired by certain things—the image, the colors, the patterns and themes. Once in a while I will sketch out what I'm going to do, though much like a poem is made, a collage is spurred on by a single image and spontaneity.

RG: All of your collages seem to come with their own story, and I love the one behind Raleigh Review's Vol. 3 cover collage, "Little Mary at the Playhouse Lounge."
Tell us about it.

Both Little Mary and the Playhouse Lounge lived and thrived in Pittsburg, California, where my husband Tony and I owned the Playhouse. It was an amazing place, and Little Mary was a regular. This was a place and time where any moment you could hear a coin funnel down and into the jukebox slot, the music would start and everyone would start dancing. The Playhouse Lounge was a place where everyone was welcome.

To view some of the brilliant covers Geri Digiorno has created for Raleigh Review over the years, see our subscription page.

Geri Digiorno at home
​in Petaluma, California.
Photo by Dorianne Laux