It’s nice to witness the beauty in something that has been cast aside in today’s world, where everything is constantly updated with the most cutting-edge technology. Rebecca Szeto sees potential in old paintbrushes, using them to create tiny masterpieces in her Paintbrush Portraits series. The brush’s form is reimagined in these art pieces, which turn it into a delicate hand-painted woman wearing an elaborate gown. Each portrait incorporates elements of history, contemporary society, and the overlooked potential of discarded objects to tell a narrative.
“The Paintbrush Portraits series has long been a platform for delivering wry social commentary through historical allusion and environmentally friendly craftsmanship,” according to Szeto. “It has long been a personal quest into humanity’s enduring modesty and delicate majesty. I return to this concept of grace, which refers to our natural qualities and virtues as humans.” The varied painted figures’ emotive portraits appear to correspond with the bristles’ age, creating a sense of a long-lost precious object when combined.
Reusing unusual materials is an essential element of Szeto’s work. “I re-purpose common, mass-produced substances and mostly find garbage to figure out how to make beauty and value from it,” she adds. “I abandoned preconceived ideas about the materials to freely experience their inherent qualities and explore meaning beneath the surface.”
Paintbrushes that have been discarded with themes and concepts frequently neglected, incredibly sensitively and creatively, bring them into the light. “My primary focus is on how we can go beyond difficult times and language barriers, providing instructional challenges for serious fun and energetic rejuvenation.”
You may follow Szeto on Instagram to keep up with her latest endeavors.