5 Artists’ repurposed book art that will take your breath away

Super upcycling


By Gwen Ong

5 Artists’ repurposed book art that will take your breath away


1) Malena Valcarcel


Malena Valcarcel is a Spanish artist who collects discarded books and turns them into amazing work of art. Her repertoire includes nightlights, wall hangings, jewellery and sculptures. The concentration of detailing is amazing. The artist loves working with paper as this particular material allows her to turn something that is lost and forgotten into an object of beauty.



2) Susan Hoerth


Susan Hoerth’s work revolves around the theme of vintage art, in which she creates pop-up 3D objects out of antique storybooks. Each altered book that she uses must be dated before 1923 and not first editions. This is because she finds them to be a challenge to problem-solve through the disintegrating bindings and tattered pages – basically the imperfections.



3) Brian Dettmer


The contemporary American artist is most known for his work on pre-existing media such as maps, record albums and cassette tapes. But his favourite is to alter books such as old dictionaries, encyclopedias, textbooks, medical guides, comics and more. What’s astounding is Brian cuts into the books to expose selected images or text to create intricate 3D objects without pre-planning or mapping out the content.



4) Su Blackwell


British artist, Su Blackwell has always found paper to be a compelling form of communication. It was through this delicate medium that she was inspired to develop her ‘story-telling’ technique after receiving a book on Chinese paper-cutting. She taps on fairytales and folklores to bring an old book to life, where she transforms the flat pages into 3D dioramas and magical landscapes filled with intricate sculptures and characters.



5) Isobelle Ouzman


Based in Seattle, US, Isabelle uses reclaimed materials and her imagination to create ‘magical imagery’. Her altered books project happened by accident when one rainy day she came across a box full of hardback novels. She brought them home to dry and repair some of the bindings. Hpwever, the genre didn’t appeal to the book lover, so she started drawing and carving into the pages instead, which eventually led to the works we see today.


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