I first came across Yupo paper a number of years ago in a George James video from Creative Catalyst. I always wanted to try it but a combination of not seeing it in art stores and George James’ media being watercolour, it never came to fruition. Then, I found Yupo paper when I was at the art store on the COFA campus with Andrew. I excitedly bought some and then left it for a number of months – as you do!
Finally this week, I saw a video with Jodi Ohl: “Graffiti Grunge Art: Abstract Painting on Yupo“. OK. It was time to experiment!
On my first attempt, I found out that it wasn’t as easy as it looked. Yupo paper is not paper at all. It is polypropylene. The paint isn’t absorbed by the paper; it sits on top of it. Paint can be ‘lifted off’, a technique very familiar to a watercolorist but not as common for someone who works with acrylics. Yet the layering is very familiar and enticing. Not long after finishing my first piece (above), I was already playing on a second one (see below).
Andrew was instantly in love with this new paper as there was not a piece of collage in sight. No little pesky bumps where the paper joins, or the inconsistency of finish (matte / gloss). Much to my amusement these things that I love about collage are the very thing that annoys him! Still, there is something quite beautiful about the slick finish of the yupo. It reminds me of that sheen you get off photographs. To top it off the process is perfect for anyone who wants to defeat their perfectionistic side as it is difficult to control the paint on this surface. It invites happy accidents!