Powell's life-long obsession with old books led to his discovery of them as a unique art medium. Most of the books used in his art are damaged, tattered and torn, discarded and banished to the $1 shelf or garage bin. Neil, however, sees these books as little gems. Many have covers that were created with production processes that are no longer in practice. Most carry a heavy patina from all those years passing through multiple owner’s hands. In some ways, Powell sees his art as a way to rescue these books from destruction, giving them a second life in a different context to a new audience. Conceptually, his work explores new social, cultural, and political narratives through themes of relatedness and identity. By juxtaposing the new and the old—new art from old book covers—voices across time speak to one another, thereby opening avenues toward meaning. He encourages the visitor to enter a disparate world of language, typography, and illustration styles that captures the eye and demands it to move back and forth among layers looking for signals, signs and clues. He aims for his art to culminate in a visual treatise on the recycling and renewal of popular culture.
L’obsession éternelle de Neil Powell pour les vieux livres l’a mené à les utiliser comme un médium d’art unique. La plupart des livres qu’il utilise dans ses oeuvres sont endommagés, en lambeaux, déchirés, destinés aux poubelles. Toutefois, Powell voit ces livres comme des petits bijoux et perçoit son art comme une manière de les sauver de l'oubli, leur accordant ainsi une seconde vie dans un contexte différent, pour un tout autre public.