One company makes toothbrushes and other conveniences from old yogurt cups. Another offers bowls made from old LPs. As more companies get creative with modern civilization’s discards, it’s only a matter of time before someone creates art for art’s sake.
I’ll admit, when I look at my weekly supermarket circulars, the last thing I think of is a cheekbone, or a swirl of brunette… but that’s exactly what Sandi Schimmel Gold has been envisioning as she collects circulars, catalogs and other direct-mail pieces from the mailbox and turns them into portraits like “Smoulder,” a 30”x36” close up (left) of a strikingly blue-eyed (and toned) woman with red hair. In her description of the art, Schimmel Gold points out there are icebergs, Hannukah candles and clouds in the woman’s face; and perfume bottles and Macy’s ads in the hair.
Everything came from junk mail.
“I create without waste,” Schimmel Gold writes on her website. “I upcycle junk mail, calendars, post cards, photos, old greeting cards, tags, etc... it's all paper waste I collect. I use only water-based, acid-free, non-toxic materials to create my work. It is completely eco-friendly. I reuse and repurpose canvas, frames, etc. whenever possible.”
Talk about keeping a theme. To create “All American Blonde” (right), Schimmel Gold used tax forms and political junk mail to create the image. Recently, she completed a work specially commissioned by Molson/Coors Brewing. The 36”x72” landscape of the Rocky Mountains — constructed entirely of various pieces of Coors packaging and marketing materials — hangs in the company’s headquarters in Golden, Colo.
Schimmel Gold, who lives and works in Phoenix, re-uses the very images that arrive via mail, according to her website.
“I believe we are an aggregate of tiny bits: who we are and where we've been — or who we pretend to be,” she states.
That’s heavy-duty metaphysical talk describing art that’s just really cool to look at and that recycles unwanted ephemera into something that costs several thousand dollars.
Come to think of it… If it’s being used for such a high purpose, maybe it’s time to start calling junk mail something else.
(Photo credit: Schimmel Art)