Jonathan Hoppe

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Found Materials


With a thundering crash in the wee hours of the morning, the front wall of 16 E. Gay Street in West Chester fell out onto the street. The building, weakened by water leaks, finally gave way, destroying a lamppost and a car parked nearby.

That afternoon, I found art: one of the pressed-tin acanthus leaves that adorned the front of the building had been torn away, and before the wreckers scooped it up to go to the landfill, I acquired it.


I did what any sane person would do: gently removed the many paint layers that had accumulated on it over the years, and developed a project.


I decided to be historically accurate and paint it in lead white, as it had been originally. Lead paint is still made, if you know where to look. After three thin coats of the stuff (applied by airbrush — this was not smart), and a generous coating of lacquer, it was ready.

The wonderful folks at the framing shop in town framed it up to my specifications in short order.


The acanthus leaf, painted and framed.


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