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Delicate Newspaper Portraits

“There is great beauty to be found. Sometimes you have to go through the trash to find it.” – Annie Terrazzo, artist

After seeing our Junk Mail Mosaics post, Annie Terrazzo got in touch with us to tell us about about a similar style of art she's been creating for years. Using newspapers from around the world, from New Zealand to Italy, Terrazzo quickly and carefully overlays a portrait on top of it.

The idea to use newspaper as her canvas came to Terrazzo quite serendipitously; it was after she got off a plane at Heathrow and took the tube into London after rush hour. “Everyone had discarded their papers on the floor of the train, must have been 200 of them strewn about,” she tells us. “That was my first introduction to England, and I thought it would be a great way to get free art supplies. (I'm all about cheap art supplies.)”

Though it seems simple in idea, it's actually more complicated than you might think. “It is a great material to use as it says something. Literally,” Terrazzo says. “But it's hard to use as a material. You have a shelf life of about five days or it all goes crazy. I cut up a lot of small pieces and the second you let light and air get hold of it, you're screwed. I always make the background first, then set it, then do the drawing as a separate layer to help with the time constraints. Besides that, if you work the paper too much, as I tend to do… using too much force or re-drawing, the paper just gives way. I have lost many a piece to forceful over-coloring.

“It took me a while to find the right process to make the work I make now. I had to find the right glue to make the paper heat, humidity and light resistant so it wouldn't lose color and shape.”

Terrazzo's artwork was included The History of Dying Stars, a book of poetry and art written by Oscar S. Cisneros, a Mexican-American attorney and poet living and working in the Los Angeles area. The book features more than 80 poems and sixteen works of art by twelve different artists, including the author's mother, Leticia Rendon. Each work of art – paintings, mixed media illustrations, photographs, photo illustrations and digital artworks – was specifically commissioned to visually interpret a single poem in the book.

Annie Terazzo's website

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