Who is Colleen Attara’s Niche?

04.11.2016 |

Episode #7 of the course How do artists find their niche? by Ann Rea


Colleen Attara is an eco-artist who salvages discarded materials and signs to create affirmations in the form of wall signs and greeting card collections. Rethinking then reusing materials to refocus her thoughts is foundational to her creative process.

Again, we can determine Attara’s niche by answering the following four questions:


1. Why = Who is the artist, what does she stand for, what does she stand against, and why?

Before we can know Colleen Attara’s target market, we must know who she is as a person.

Colleen Attara

Colleen Attara

When Colleen started her fine art business, she was still working in advertising sales and didn’t have much sales traction with her art. What she did have was perseverance.

She does not allow obstacles, inner or outer, to prevent her from getting what she wants, and she believes that no one should.

As a former salesperson, she was told that she would not succeed. She did.

As a former stutterer, she was told that she would not be a news anchor. She was.

As an untrained artist, she was told that she could not make art that matters to many people. She does.

She believes that the only real way to push past perceived limitations is to tune out the negative voices that live mostly in our minds, have hope, and then take action.

Colleen deliberately focuses on creating Eco-Art that is an expression of warmth and hopefulness over negativity in a way that is very grounded and real, not saccharine sweet or ingenuine.

Colleen is married to her high school sweetheart, who is a PGA professional and owns a golf management company. They both understand how to win by using focused self-discipline.


2. What = Based on her why, what is the one problem that she believes is worth solving?

We all must deal with something scary, emotional, or unclear. This requires hope and belief in ourselves. Then we can gain the motivation needed to take focused action toward what we want.


3. How = How does she solve the problem using her artistic and other skills and resources?

Colleen collects discarded fragments of words, images, and materials. She mixes her writing and photography with ephemera. Colleen gently tears photos, changes the composition, and sews them back together using loose threads and random stitches.

Using her sales experience, she’s negotiated agreements to gain low-cost materials, such as signs from a sign manufacturer.

She then assembles discarded material into intimate visual treasures of hope, reminding us to care for our fragile selves and our fragile environment.

Her greeting card line is printed on 100% reused paper products. She composes messages using salvaged cardboard and her handwriting. Her card line is in over 100 stores, including Trader Joe’s.

Altered book by Colleen Attara

Altered book by Colleen Attara

Mixed media collage print "GPS" by Colleen Attara

Mixed media collage print “GPS” by Colleen Attara

Mixed media collage card "Happy" face by Colleen Attara

Mixed media collage card “Happy” face by Colleen Attara

Colleen has also created a community by teaching students how to make altered books at healing art retreats. Woman attend from all over the world, creating art with trash that they collect from the village with local teenagers.


4. Who = Who has the one problem that she believes is worth solving?

Who else requires hope so they can deal with something scary, emotional, or unclear?

Women moving through an emotional challenge, invested in self-development, and who are concerned about the environment. Their goal is simply to be happy.

When we access our creativity and reuse materials in a unique way, it suggests that there’s the possibility of hope and redemption in all of us.


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