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 or visit our archive page  to view issues for free.

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