Janelle Monáe's striking collage art for this month's EBONY digital cover came from the brilliant mind of collage artist Bria Sterling-Wilson. The introspective creative is known for her manipulation of magazine clippings, newspapers and fabric which allow her to recontextualize found materials to examine how African Americans are represented and perceived in society.

Monáe and team discovered Wilson's work on Instagram. Loving the artist's ability to create imagery with a slightly retro feel that celebrates the sensuality of women, she reached out to Wilson and EBONY to collaborate on this project. Wilson got right to work, mixing materials and textures to unveil Janelle Monáe in a colorful and playful setting.

Wilson took a few minutes out of her busy schedule to describe her creative process and how her work will evolve in the future.

Janelle wears an Anna Quan top, We Love Colors tights, Flor de Maria shoes and Bottega Veneta earrings. Photo by Keith Major for EBONY Media. Collage by Bria Sterling.

EBONY: How did you get involved in the Janelle Monae cover shoot?

Bria Sterling Wilson: Tracey Woods, EBONY's visual production director, contacted me and asked me to be a part of this project. I was sincerely speechless and honored while reading the email about the opportunity. This is truly a full-circle moment for me.   

What was the process used to create these super-saturated photogenic moments of Janelle Monae?

The process that I used is called analog collaging. Warren Mantooth photographed Janelle in the studio and then sent the images to me to create the collages. I hand cut found imagery from vintage newspapers, EBONY, JET and Players magazines. I decided on the use of bold colors, nostalgic patterns and familiar textures to achieve these beautiful interior scenes with Janelle being the central focus.

What did you want to convey through your creations?

My collages are heavily inspired by the 1970s and '80s aesthetic. During this period, Black power, women’s rights and freedom were major movements happening across the country. I wanted the domestic settings that I created around Janelle to visually evoke the feelings of that time.

When and how did you discover your love of art and photography?

I discovered my love for art at an early age. I grew up in a very creative household. My mother was an artist, so I think it was inevitable for me to follow in her footsteps. I was attracted to drawing and painting, and I was given my first Minolta film camera in high school.

How has your style evolved over time?

As you educate yourself, reflect on your experiences and learn more about who you are, your art has no choice but to shift. I began creating small and simple collages, truly experimenting and studying this form of artistry. Now I am making strong conceptual and compositional choices when I create my collage works. The size of my pieces have evolved and the materials have as well.  

Where do you see your work going next creatively?

I will continue to experiment with new materials and push the medium of collage. Installation and sculpture are also very intriguing to me, so I look forward to incorporating that into my style of art. I intend to have longevity in my career as an artist. Therefore, nothing is off limits for me creatively.

See more of Wilson's work at bsterlingphotography.com.