The Alluring Art of Recycled Junk Mail

John LennonJohn Lennon

Artist Sandy Schimmel creates beautiful works of art from junk mail, ads and flyers, things we throw away everyday without a thought. Several years ago, she saw a portrait in Venice, Italy made from stained glass. It was too expensive to buy and too heavy to carry, so she decided to make her own. After a few failed attempts to recreate it through glass and ceramic, she started cutting up paper and cards that had accumulated and created what she was looking for.


Sandy says she is a rabid recycler and upcycles unusual resources to create her art. Upcycling is the practice of taking something that is disposable and transforming it into something of greater use or value.

Marilyn MonroeMarilyn Monroe

"Every little "tile" you see was once advertising ephemera, junk mail, a postcard or packaging," she says on her site. "I save everything and upcycle this resource to create fine art. I also repurpose old canvas and frames. Why throw them in a land fill when they can be reclaimed and reused?"

She also creates custom portraits from pictures. "I "upcycle" junk mail into fine art... I create portraits and abstract images... and about 1/4 of my work is custom...I paint on canvas first, and then cover the whole thing with junk mail "tiles.""

Her artwork is gorgeous and it's amazing that her materials don't cost her a thing. Junk mail, ads, flyers....oh, if only my mind was this creative. Instead I let them pile up on my desk until I can't stand it anymore. And then into the trash they go.

Sandy's motivation for her art is inspiring. Her vision: "to respond to the muse through the disciplines of painting and mosaic by creating a connected collection of representational or abstract images in segments of amazing color utilizing resources that would otherwise go to waste."

Jimi HendrixJimi Hendrix

"Communication - Pink""Communication - Pink"

"Ave Maria, Linda!""Ave Maria, Linda!"


"Ghost Horse""Ghost Horse"

"Sedona Landing""Sedona Landing"

"Self Portrait""Self Portrait"


More of her artwork can be found at: schimmelart

Apr 17, 2008
by Anonymous

junk mail?