Martijn Hesseling, who lives and works in The Netherlands, creates his incredibly complex compositions from only newspaper and lacquer. Beginning with a sheet of clear plexiglass as his canvas, Hesseling builds his works from back to the front by carefully cutting and lacquering each individual element of the image.
When lacquered, the negative space of the printed page is rendered transparent while the printed text and images remain. Hesseling uses the white space of the page as his highlights and places layer upon layer of the remaining printed material as his shadows, gradients, and color. Because his technique builds highlights from transparency, the brightness and details of the work actually come from the wall not the surface of the piece creating a depth and glow that emanates from within.
During his MFA studies as a painter, Hesseling chose to work with newspaper after
growing frustrated with the formality of paint and looking for a medium that reflected time. In his work, maintaining legibility of the text is key to both rendering the finer details of each piece and the effect of the artwork when viewed from varying distances. As the viewer approaches the work, the larger composition dissolves in a way that paintings and drawings don't as the viewers eye begins to scan the work both reading each piece that has been used to build the image and trying to comprehend how the work was made.