Desert contemporary artist Althea Sassman integrates handmade, hand-painted, and found recycled papers onto canvas to create a unique “painting” entirely from torn paper collage. This organic method involves tearing and gluing each individual paper piece while layering color, pattern and texture. Significant text from old book pages, postage stamps from her father’s childhood collection, or piano music sheets passed down from family generations all help to lead the observer in for more detail. Commissioned pieces often include personal memorabilia such as favorite wine labels, maps, ticket stubs from travels, and handwritten postcards.
Although raised in the Midwest, Althea was drawn to the warmth and extraordinary nature of the Sonoran Desert. After graduating from Arizona State University, she soon embraced a successful career in graphic design/art direction for advertising agencies in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area.
After settling down to raise a family, Althea returned to her roots as an artist. Now residing approximately 30 years in Arizona, Althea celebrates her connection to the desert environment. Working out of her home studio in far north Scottsdale, she is inspired not only by her love of botanicals, critters, and creatures, but also family, who provide encouragement, motivation, and even welcome critiques!
I am particularly inspired by our Sonoran Desert. The southwest provides such extraordinary beauty and strength through its vast vegetation, diverse landscape and unique wildlife. There is purpose to my choosing a palette of organic papers with loads of texture, recycled papers with character and history, and creating my own hand-painted papers. There is purpose to each singular piece that goes into my works.”