Local newspapers repurposed as art collage
From Staff Reports
Newspaper collage artist Catherine Elizabeth picks up newspapers like the Glen Arbor Sun, the Grand Rapids Business Journal, and The Betsie Current for our stories and advertisements—but also for her art.
“How I create my work: I usually have a gut feeling about what I want to make, based on my surroundings or experiences,” she wrote on Instagram on May 19, 2021. “I look up images or find photos I have taken to study the elements I want to incorporate in my piece. Once I have solidified the vantage point of what I want, I sketch the image. Then, the fun part begins! I start to hunt for specific colors I need within my stack of newspapers. I work with the background elements before moving to the foreground to make a somewhat realistic feel. I work left to right, top to bottom mostly. I add and remove parts until I feel like the piece is complete!”
The Chicago artist started making collages using upcycled newspapers back in the summer of 2011, but she recently came back to this medium.
“Inspired by my childhood summers spent in Northern Michigan, my first pieces are of my favorite Leelanau County views and experiences,” she writes on her website. “In March 2020, after losing my job due to the pandemic, I returned to making collages using only recycled, colored newspaper to capture places unique to me and images I dream up.”
For instance, many real estate listings from The Betsie Current have grass in them, she says, so she was able to work that into her art pieces.
“Your paper has such fantastic color, and I love incorporating it in my work—after I read it, of course,” she says.
The grass in her collage of the D.H. Day barns is from bits and pieces from The Betsie Current.
“I have been using the same stack of newspapers for my work the past couple of years, and I have managed to make quite a few art pieces from them,” Catherine wrote on Instagram back in April. “Using local newspapers related to the image I am working on makes the process more meaningful to me and creates fun details to tell the buyer. Fun Fact: The business advertisement section of the Glen Arbor Sun always has great colors to incorporate into my work. The tree in the [above] image has the bright green logo [from Grocer’s Daughter Chocolate] as the tree leaves. A favorite local chocolatier in Empire, MI.”
Her work includes images from the Great Lakes State, landscapes, florals, and Chicago residential architecture. Each piece is made at the kitchen table in her 350-square-foot studio apartment in her Ravenswood neighborhood, on the city’s north side. She is joined by her co-worker, Charlie, a curly-haired mini Goldendoodle. In her spare time, Catherine Elizabeth enjoys walks around her neighborhood, listening to her favorite band, Johnnyswim, and spending many summer nights at Cubs games.
Check out Catherine Elizabeth’s Northern Michigan collection at bit.ly/TBCcollage. Follow her on Instagram via @catherineelizabeth_art.
A version of this article first published in the Glen Arbor Sun, a Leelanau County-based semi-sister publication to The Betsie Current.
Featured Photo Caption: “The business advertisement section of the Glen Arbor Sun always has great colors to incorporate into my work,” artist Catherine Elizabeth wrote on Instagram back in April. “The tree in the [above] image has the bright green logo [from Grocer’s Daughter Chocolate] as the tree leaves. A favorite local chocolatier in Empire, MI.” Image courtesy of Catherine Elizabeth; all rights reserved.