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  • Rhonda Barrett

Why Newspaper?

Many people ask me why I use #newspaper to create my artwork, and the answer is pretty simple. Because it already exists and is full of color, texture and inspiration, though rarely valued as much more than a distraction at the coffee shop while waiting for a latte.


As somebody who cherishes the natural world, I feel that anything created from trees and water should be highly valued. So, by rearranging the papers and creating an image that is almost unrecognizable as #newsprint, I am hoping to increase the value of the lowly paper.


It is an #upcycledart practice that has #wabisabi elements and is derived from the tradition of using handmade papers to create 2D visual art in Japan called #chigire. The difference is that I see an abundance of available papers and do not feel the need to create more.


There is a problem with this though. Newsprint is notoriously acidic and to many galleries and collectors this may be a scary idea. I have been rejected on this basis from many galleries who claim they cannot promote my artwork with confidence. I have researched my medium and reached out to conservationists and art restorers to better understand how to work with the papers. I use acid free glue, locking each tiny piece into a pocket of glue, and finish each piece with UV protection. Estimates are that these pieces will last a lifetime, 100 years or so. Last I checked, that's a full life by any account, so I am happy with this number. (My first piece was created in 2015 and is still in great condition.) I am also surprised to see the same galleries rejecting my work for being %100 newspaper, hanging mixed media work that includes newsprint without hesitation. In chatting with conservationists, this will no doubt increase the likelihood of the paper coming into contact with an element that will encourage the paper to break down. I feel there is more education and conversation required about this medium as it continues to show up frequently in collage and mixed media artworks. There is a large group of artists using newspaper that I am following, it is unique, but, it is not new. #Picasso did it. Many more are doing it...(next blog).



Using newspapers as a primary medium feels like a #temporalart dream. I get a little pleasure out of knowing that when I pass, my pieces will slowly fade and pass as well. Enjoy the art now folks! Enjoy life now!


What is more fitting than using the daily happenings of life as written on paper to foster an appreciation of 'the now' in my artworks? Nothing. Newspapers rule!



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