The British artist Mark Powell is showing the world how easy it can be to recycle and reuse paper to create some stunning pieces of art. Born in the city of Leeds, Yorkshire, the artist fell into the art world on a day trip to the University of Huddersfield after losing his job the day before. Powell had sketched drawings throughout his life and found himself looking for a style to add substance to his work while at college and after graduating.
After making his way to London and spending much of his time living on the concrete floors of his barren studio, Powell found himself homeless and in need of a small canvas for his work. Eventually, the artist discovered a letter from a soldier in the trenches during World War I and set out to sketch a portrait of what the soldier would look like in old age on the envelope.
The success of his first artwork using recycled envelopes inspired Mark Powell to create more pieces in a similar style. Powell believes the pairing of elderly subjects for his portraits and the creased, lined envelopes of old letters makes the perfect couple. Despite some of the envelopes and documents used by Powell dating back as far as the 17th-century, he works using a biro which he found easy to find when he began this ongoing project. Powell admits the challenge of using a ballpoint pen can be difficult with every document absorbing the ink in different ways making every piece created a unique artwork.
Learn more on Mark Powell’s website