Artist statement

Born in Hong Kong, I am an independent artist and designer, currently living and working in Australia. I operate out of my home studio in Sydney. With a background in graphic design and photography, my gouache paintings explore basic human emotion and instinct through the intersection of Chinese calligraphy and abstract art. I take influence from the minimalist movement, and my colour palette is drawn from nature. I enjoy working with natural pigments because of their connection to the earth, and I favour handmade cotton rag paper for its raw texture.

Natural earth pigments

The natural earth pigments I use in my paints are mined from quarries around the world. They are non-toxic, archival, and lightfast. They are 100% free of cadmium and other metals. I mix my pigments with a natural gum arabic solution and limestone powder to create gouache paints that are vibrant, lightfast, archival, and safe for the environment.

Recycled cotton rag paper

The paper I have chosen to work with is the 100% cotton rag paper made by Khadi in Karnataka, South India. Khadi’s cotton rag paper is made from T-shirt cuttings, which arrive in massive jute sacks from Tirupati, Tamil Nadu. According to Khadi: ‘Cotton rags have longer fibres than linters, which are the short fluffy fibres of the cotton seed often used in papermaking. Genuine rag papers are rare, and it is the fibre length of this raw material that gives Khadi rag papers their exceptional strength and durability.’

You can read more about Khadi’s papermaking process as well as their environmental practices on their website. This booklet by The Nature Conservancy also has helpful information about the environmental impact of different types of paper.

Eco-friendly studio

In addition to using non-toxic paints and paper made from recycled cotton, I am committed to finding ways of operating an eco-friendly studio. For starters, my goal is to produce zero waste in my artmaking. Moreover, through extensive research, I have managed to discover beautiful, versatile alternatives to plastic packaging, which are either recyclable or biodegradable. Even though these options are more expensive, I’m happy to bear the cost of materials that do not end up in our oceans or in our landfills for generations to come.

Available artworks

My first series, titled To Love, is now available for purchase at the Handmade Pop-Up. If you wish to be notified about future artwork releases, please subscribe to the newsletter. If you have any questions, please email hello@rhondamason.com.au.