Carving an art niche

WOULDN’T it be nice to drill holes in annual reports?

Former economist Graham Hay thinks so, and spends his days doing just that – for the sake of art, mind you.

Mr Hay gave up life on St Georges Terrace to pursue a career as a paper artist and, after years of working with different mediums, he has discovered that annual reports and company prospectuses are the perfect materials to create his sculptures.

“The annual reports have high quality paper and they have fewer chemicals in them. I think its because they need to be archived so that’s why they don’t break down as easily,” Mr Hay said. 

“They don’t have recycled paper in them, which is good. That tends to have a bleach which breaks the paper down over time.”

Mr Hay compresses the reports and makes carvings from the material as if it were wood.

“Paper comes from wood, so after compressing paper it becomes as hard and as durable as wood,” he said.

“In fact it is so hard that I have to use steel and stone working tools to carve it. The sculpture is the ultimate response to doing the office paperwork.

“I used to work on the Terrace and it’s just constant sorting of paper at the end of the day; you’ve either got a big out tray or in tray.

“I don’t read it any more, I just drill a hole through it, thread it onto a steel rod, and cut it up.”

Mr Hay’s first high-gloss artwork used a chapter of a Royal Commission report.

“It was chapter five of a Royal Commission Report into something like crime. I can’t remember it exactly, but the chapter was accountability,” he said.  “There was a misprint in the report so the printer asked me if I wanted them.”

Mr Hay is on the hunt for more high-quality glossy documents such as annual reports and company prospectuses to give him plenty of fodder to continue his work.

He is asking Perth businesses to think twice before throwing out old company reports. Businesses can email Mr Hay at with details of the reports and he will happily collect them from the premises.

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