Shelley Schenker has been making Magazine Mosaics since 2007 when she volunteered to organize a fundraising art project for one of her son’s private school. That was when she latched on to the idea of using magazines as art supplies. The group project sparked an unending joy and desire to make brilliant mosaics.
This life changing project was originally offered to Shelley because she was well versed at working with children. Over the years she has played many a role in educating children from preschool teacher, home-schooling mother to Sunday School coordinator and leader of various workshops. She is also no stranger to the arts and has run her own graphic design firm since 1989, having received her formal training in advertising at Florida International University and her jump into the “deep end” in the Miami Herald’s Advertising Art department.
Today, with most of the children out of the nest (the youngest leaves in 2022), Shelley dedicates her time to her mosaics nearly full time. The process has many steps and they can all be done on different days – actually if they were done all on the same day it might make a person crazy… There are days spent culling magazines for every glorious color and texture and pulling them out of the magazines and into a large trough. Then there are days that are spent at the trough sorting colors and textures into a categories such as orange, yellow, purple and even watery blue, sky blue, dark blue, light blue, greenish blue, blue with texture and so on. Additionally there are days spent sketching and making what basically amounts to giant, custom color-by-number compositions. From there a usable palate of colors is pulled from the sorted magazine pages and then (and only then) can the pages start to be hand-torn and the pieces adhered onto the base.
Original works can take anywhere from two days to several months to complete. Each finished piece is then framed under glass or plexi-glass to protect the paper from the elements. Today’s high-end magazines are printed on acid-free paper, giving these pieces a natural strong longevity.