Zelda Zinn

Illuminated Letters

This body of work grew out of my fascination with camouflage, an idea I had been previously been engaged with in paintings as well as collaged photos. Once I began to look for disruptive pattern, I saw it everywhere, even the in the insides of envelopes which brought me my bills. Each company seemed to have a distinct shape imprinted on the interior of its envelopes.

I began to collect the various envelopes which were delivered to my door, becoming excited as a new pattern was discovered.  Since the purpose of these security envelopes was to hide the contents within, I saw them as a form of domestic camouflage, a natural continuation of my camouflaged houses. The deconstructed envelopes even resembled the universal symbol for a house with their symmetrical, pitched roofs and squared sides.

Working on Duraline, I began to trace the repeating shapes.  At first, I carefully unfolded the paper, trying to preserve and faithfully reproduce what was there. Later, I ripped open the envelopes, enjoying the jagged edges and new shapes created by chance. Finally, I used the shapes of the envelopes and the patterns within as a jumping off point, letting them guide me “off the grid.” The resultant images were unplanned and largely unconscious reactions to what the page presented.