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The Brown Paper Bag Reinvisioned

Juxtapoz // Monday, 15 Feb 2010

Brown paper bags aren’t just for concealing your forty or tossing in the trash. Chris Crites aka The Bag Painter recycles brown bags, utilizing them as canvases.


“Years ago I saw a book of black and white crime photographs from the past,” writes the artist on his website. “I found it amazing. The characters and crime scenes looked like surreal glimpses into the history of human interaction. Much more intriguing for me were the mug shots. Portraits of people who had just been caught. Despair, frustration, anger – so many expressions could be read on the faces. Each one of these images has a story.


“Originally I began using charcoal and white conte crayon on paper bag. The way the wrinkles, folds and texture added to the piece really appealed to me. In 1999 I painted my first 4 mug shots in acrylic on paper bag with a limited palette of 5 colors each. Paper bag has been my main substrate ever since. Brightly colored acrylics have a different effect on the brown bag than on a typical white backing.


“I try to bring new life to these practically discarded portraits of criminal and human history. Using an everyday, disposable item as the surface gives new life to the bag as well. It is my hope to get people thinking about the past, their present, and how we all affect both.”








Every image in one place


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