Creating artworks from scrap paper

April 23, 2023 - 10:00
Nguyễn Thị Kim Hồng is among the rare artists whose art aims to protect the environment.

Lê Hương & Hồng Vân

Scrap paper may be useless to many people, but for some it is a valuable material to create incredible artworks.

Nursery school consultant Nguyễn Thị Kim Hồng is among these rare artists.

“To me, art is something very close to my life,” Hồng told Việt Nam News. “When I was small, I liked to see the idyllic scenery like chickens, ponds and fireflies at night. Such images were carved into my memory.”

Graduating from Foreign Trade University, Hồng chose nursery teaching as her main career, which offers her the chance to work with children.

“During my lessons, I teach them to make simple images from scrap paper,” she said.

During the recent pandemic's first social-distancing period, she missed her students a lot and wanted to do something to kill time.

“I asked my friend for some newspapers and an old book,” she said. “I tore them and stitched in coloured areas together to create my first painting – Chrysanthemum. My friends appreciated it. That was how my paintings from scrap paper were born.”

Hồng has now made dozens of paintings this way.

Initially hesitant, Hồng posted images of her pictures on social networks, and many of her friends encouraged her to continue.

Nguyễn Thị Kim Hồng can spend hours making a painting from scrap paper. VNS Photo Lê Hương

“The most challenging task is nurturing my inspiration,” she said.

“I often start making a painting when I have enough inspiration and a planned layout. But in some cases, I find a good colour while making a painting and I have an idea for a new painting from that colour.”

Her work is so good that she has started selling her creations with great success and gathered a number of fans online.

“Hồng is a delicate woman with lots of emotions, which has been expressed in her paintings,” said Nguyễn Ngọc Tâm, a fan from the central city of Vinh.

“Her paintings offer something peaceful and innocence as well as femininity, a special feature of her works. I especially like the painting Dream of Flowers. I have requested her to make the same painting to give to my daughter as a gift."

Hồng's first painting titled 'Chrysanthemum'.

Such encouragement has fuelled Hồng's passion. The artist said she can spend hours cutting and stitching paper, but only uses waste paper like newspapers, books, catalogues, decoration paper, and sweet boxes.

“Paintings I make contain my passion, which is why I spend so much time on them,” Hồng said. “Besides ordered works, I also create new ones to keep for myself and for general sale.”

In the future, Hồng wants to set up one or two workshops to pass on her skills, particularly for children who can be very creative in the art.

Hồng said her main obstacle now was finding how to balance time for work, family and art.

All of her paintings were made from old newspapers or catalogues.

“I’m still single, but I have several nieces and nephews,” she said. “I like to spend time with my family. Besides this, I go on business trips often.”

Hồng sometimes feels stuck for new ideas.

“I want to avoid repeating myself,” she said. “I am eager to explore new things to create new topics. When I finish one topic, I often want to swiftly move on to other, more unique topics.”

But after spending some hours in front of colour paper, she feels relieved when new ideas arrive.

“Making paintings from scrap paper has brought me a lot of value,” she said.

“I can satisfy with my desires. I have realised that not many people can find a hobby to lose themselves in.

"My art can also protect the environment. The fact that I stay at home, making paintings instead of going out and discharging waste to my surroundings [helps the environment]. I can teach children how to create art and protect the environment.”

Another benefit of her work is creativity and teaching or helping children to come up with new ideas.

“Sometimes they say something interesting, and I note down for my next paintings, so I have actually learnt a lot from my students,” she said. VNS

The topics may include her dreams.