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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Artist finds paper muse

    A sculpture created from books and newspapers, created by Nick Georgiou, a New York sculptor and filmmaker, sits on display on at the Union Gallery in the SUMC.
    A sculpture created from books and newspapers, created by Nick Georgiou, a New York sculptor and filmmaker, sits on display on at the Union Gallery in the SUMC.

    Not many people cherish newspapers and books after they read them, but Nick Georgiou, a New York sculptor and filmmaker, not only saves them, he transforms them into art.

    As a visiting artist to the UA, Georgiou currently has an exhibition at the Union Art Gallery, in the Student Union Memorial Center which will run through April 24.

    Georgiou was a senior at New York University film school living three blocks away from the World Trade Center when the towers were hit on Sept. 11, 2001.

    He vividly remembers seeing flying paper steaming through the air and falling onto the New York City streets, and it inspired him to use paper to create art.

    After he graduated, he worked as a production designer/art director on film sets in order to make a living. It was then that he began accumulating props which later contributed to his works of art.

    “”One night I was looking at these things in my studio and I just wanted to transform them for myself, not working for anyone, not for a gallery, just wanting to create,”” said Georgiou.

    He began collecting paper right off the streets and even took a discarded Bible and transformed it into a bouquet of flowers, which was the first piece he sold.

    The beauty of using books and newspapers as materials is that there is already a story there, Georgiou said.

    “”I have such a pleasure going through the books and looking where people underlined and highlighted certain pages, all that is in the works and the details show when you come close,”” he said, “” I love the idea that people can touch them, because the papers and books already passed through so many hands.””

    Georgiou said he grew tired of the gallery scene and felt that street art was the way to spread his work. He started to place three-dimensional sculptures on the streets of Manhattan, and was drawn to people’s reaction and interactions with his work.

    “”The emotion becomes addicting,”” he said. “”Everyone is kinda on auto-pilot, especially in New York, but people would actually stop and look at my work that was placed in the street.””

    He said when he sees people taking pictures of his art on their cell phones, he feels the art becomes their own.

    “”It’s not just part of me; when you put it out there, you share it with the world and then they can put it on their social networking sites,”” he said. “”I really love that it becomes part of their story. It’s out of my hands.””

    Michelle Towne, an elementary education sophomore, walked through the exhibit. “”I think it’s really interesting how he takes all of these really old documents and texts and recreates them into something new to give them a lasting impression, as opposed to being thrown out,”” she said.

    After Holly Brown, a gallery assistant at the union gallery, saw Georgiou’s work online, she invited him to come exhibit his work at the UA.

    “”Showing his art in a university setting was important to him,”” Brown said. “”Having students come in and interact with him and the work.””

    Georgiou said the UA community has been welcoming and it feels natural to share his work here.

    “”Tucson is the art scene on the map for modern American art; the people that I’ve met, the art that I’ve seen here and the freedom has been incredible,”” he said. “”For me, coming from New York, there is this whole sense of paranoia – everyone’s on top of each other, everyone’s suspicious of you creating work.””

    Georgiou said he plans to stay in town a few months longer because he enjoys the energy Tucson has to offer.

    “”You come here and not only is there space, but there is just a magic quality in the air,”” he said. “”The advertisements in New York are all over the place, and what I love about Tucson is I feel like I’ve been detoxed, I rarely see any on the streets.””

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