Anna Maria Bellman intricately translates cartography into her own unique style by simplifying their elements into positive and negative space. She cuts precise slices into paper, constructing sections of maps of cities all over the world. Each hand cut incision represent paths on a map, building up the framework for a city. The artist’s work is heavily influenced from her extensive travels. Originally hailing from Germany, she has adventured to an impressive amount of cities including London, Berlin, New York, Paris, and Rome, just to name a few. All of these incredibly complex and diverse cities are represented in her work as a black and white composition of crisscrossing lines, intersecting and forming the streets and rivers.
Many of her cutout maps do not even appear as such, but rather an abstract grid of geometric lines, forming different shapes and patterns like tapestries. When the light shines through Anna Bellman’s maps, you can see their shadows creating a three-dimensional affect. Having explored more wilderness destinations as well, Bellman’s other works are highly floral and inspired from lush nature. Her nature-filled works include amazing patterns cut by hand, as intricate and delicate as those found naturally in the wild. Although Anna Bellman’s body of work can represent two ends of the spectrum, nature and city, the continuous monochromatic choice of using white paper unifies her brilliant work.
Los Angeles based artist Bovey Lee uses one single sheet of Chinese rice paper to cut and construct her unbelievably intricate urban scenes. The winding compositions she creates with simple positive and negative space forms a topsy-turvy world of concrete jungles, mountains, and wild flora. Even the clouds present in her work are fantastical as they swirl around the buildings like smoke. Bovey Lee’s process begins with rendering the composition digitally on a computer. She then prints these images and hand cuts each little detail into creation. These whimsical, impossible worlds are so complex you can search through the cut paper for hours, noticing small details like a person balancing across a tightrope, or a city floating on a cloud in the distance. Even the trucks passing by have unique patterns on each one.
Bovey Lee explains that her work is full of tension between mankind and our environment; a power struggle between two forces. Her work explores the intensions and actions of humans and the affect it has on our surroundings. Lee’s process can be tedious and time consuming, but at the same time meditative. The artist further explains her relationship with working with cut paper. (via Faith is Torment)
“My work is like drawing with a knife and is rooted in my study of Chinese calligraphy and pencil drawing. Cutting paper is a visceral reaction and natural response to my affection for immediacy, detail, and subtlety. The physical and mental demand from cutting is extreme and thrilling, slows me down and allows me to think clearly and decisively.”
Inspired by the beautiful wildlife around her, artist Marine Coutroutsios cuts and constructs intricate, abstract birds out of colorful paper. Relocating from Paris to Sydney Australia, where she currently lives and works, Coutroutsios’s work is heavily influences by her environment. This series of hers titled Australian Birds contains patterns and colors that are found in the Australia native species she sees in her everyday life. With names like Yellow Tailed Black Cockatoo and Pale Headed Rosella, it is no doubt that the artist has named them after the individual bird species that each piece aims to resemble. It is interesting that although these pieces do not resemble the shape of a bird, nor do they possess a beak or even a head, we can still see that they are unmistakably birds. Resembling a target shape, it is almost as if the bird has been flattened into a nearly symmetrical circle.
Throughout childhood, Coutroutsios was always creating something, whether it is through embroidery or origami, which accounts for her incredible skill in paper cutting. Always feeling a connecting with nature, she also creates her own environments with her paper installations full of brilliant colors and shapes. She does not only pull inspiration from nature in the sky, but also nature in the water. Make sure to check out her Ocean Series where she takes her circular shaped method of sculpture and applies it to swirls of cut paper, creating whirlpools of color. (via BOOOOM)
“Through my travels I’ve realized how much I feel connected with my environment. It keeps me grounded and humble regarding our place in this world. With my work I’d like to inspire and engage you to reconsider the value of your surroundings. I think beauty is everywhere and it’s a powerful source of energy.”
French artists Zim and Zou, comprised of Lucie Thomas and Thibault Zimmermann, took Spain by storm this May during EXPO Milan 2015 with their elaborate, thought provoking artwork. In store windows in the streets of Milan, the talented pair installed displays of intricate, three-dimensional work bursting with color and environmental messages. Created mostly out of carefully cut paper, Zim and Zou’s series illustrates the harmful effects GMO’s and aggressive farming can have on the environment, our own bodies, and the food industry as a whole. This fell in line with this years EXPO Milan theme for 2015, which is “Feeding the planet, Energy for life.”
The series in the display windows, titled Edible Monsters, reveals an array of sterile looking plants and animals, complete with mutant-like features and unnatural colors. Although these seemingly bright and cheery scenes evoke feelings of warmth and pleasantness at first glance, they all hold a bizarre aura, showing how the path that we currently are on can lead to terrible and irreversible effects on nature. One scene displays brilliantly colored, happy flowers that devour insects. In another window, one can see a fish swallowing harmful pills and a rabbit with a mutated third ear and crazed eyes. Each installation is beautifully done, but has a dark undertone of what effects chemical use and genetic manipulation can possibly have on our future. These eye-catching window displays shed light on the important subject of the world’s dietary habits and sustainability in a fantastical way. (via Design Boom)
No matter what the medium, artist Shanti Grumbine manipulates her work by slicing it into fractals of distorted imagery. In her series titled Looking Awry, she uses front-page images from the New York Times, and prints them in large format. She then cuts and divides the image into hundreds of smaller pieces and rearranges them before mounting the squares onto wooden dowel. Each square resembles a pixel, creating a strange mix of visual information since they are not placed in their original spot. This hodgepodge of colors and shapes are referencing a digital file that is corrupted, in which we can no longer see what is originally intended to visually display. Although altered and skewed, we can still make out some of the original image in Grumbine’s work. If you look closely, you can see a woman’s face or remnants of a human body. Grumbine explains her journey while creating her wall reliefs.
These wall reliefs become monuments to the untold levels of mediation between my creative acts and the rest of the world.
Much like digital files move across digital highways or frequencies, Grumbine’s work seems to travel across the composition in waves. As each cut out “pixel’ is mounted on a wooden dowel, the dowels are all different lengths, creating a wall relief. These varying levels, confronting the viewer, form a new textural and visual element. Further engaging the viewers are small, square mirrors that Grumbine integrates into each piece, replacing some of the “pixels.” Now, each captivating piece is not just reaching out at you in waves of visual complexities, but also include fractals of the viewer and its surroundings. You are now a part of the piece, a part of an endless source of aesthetic, digital information. A master at carving new meaning into different materials, this Brooklyn-based artist also has a series of incredibly detailed newspaper cut-outs titled Zeroing, also utilizes New York Times newspapers. New visuals are sliced into each word, and even a wall relief in the shape of an orb is formed from its text.
Artist Kim Rugg’s incredibly meticulous artwork consists of slicing up and breaking down everyday sources of information, like newspapers and maps. Dissecting newspapers, she rearranges the words and letters, creating a new depth of meaning. She often cuts the letters out and places them in alphabetical order, throwing the message in disarray. If these newspapers were real, they may cause panic and mayhem, as they disrupt our normal access to worldwide information. Can you imagine if even online news from all countries suddenly appeared as Rugg’s newspapers do? Both her surgically cut newspapers and transformed maps deconstruct society norms of information and the restrictions our culture has placed upon them, and therefore us as well.
This London-based artists slices up maps and pieces them together again backwards, or purposely arranging the once solid land mass in a way that fuses together all elements of land, border, and ocean. She also creates her maps by hand, erasing borderlines and geopolitical issues that are so relevant in today’s society. Her recreations of man-made territories display a new topography; a world with no boundaries, where we all can live with no territorial restrictions. Each carefully incision made forms a part of the whole, redirecting your view to its small details. Rugg’s complex work invited you to investigate the information laid out right in front of you that is often overlooked. Other work of her that require our close inspection to really understand her subtle manipulations include magazines, comic books, and even cereal boxes. Her work can be found at Mark Moore Gallery in Culver City, CA.
From Goldfinches to Rooks, artist Zack Mclaughlin creates sculptures of birds made from wood and paper, along with other mixed media. He pulls inspiration from the natural world when constructing his incredibly realistic feathered friends. Feeling a connection with each one of his birds, this labor-intensive task takes patience and skill, as the artist uses paper, a very delicate material, to create such amazing detail. Using wood for the base or body of the birds, paper lends itself to the light, airy nature of feathers. Paper is even thin enough to let light through, much like real feathers. Each feathery texture is hand cut to perfection by Mclaughlin, down to the tiniest feather, which you can see balancing on the tip of a finger.
Mclaughlin began his bird making journey when he was in the process of creating a children’s book in which the story starred a boy and a bird. Although he is also an illustrator, he sculpted the bird character in the story to better visualize his concept. He enjoyed this process and working with the materials so much, that he went on to make a huge variety of these detailed, complex feathered beings. Mclaughlin’s malleable medium choices allow him to get creative in his process. He can use different kinds of paper while creating the birds, which is why one of his birds has wings made from book pages, displaying words on each feather. His birds range in color, size, and type, which include a large, white owl all the way down to a tiny hummingbird. Mclaughlin also constructs these bird beauties into lighting and even mobiles. You can find his majestic birds on his Esty page. (via Bored Panda)
Akira Nagaya is a Japanese artist whose intricate cut-paper creations largely depict the beauty of nature. They are so skillfully done that you might be surprised to learn that Nagaya is self taught in paper-cutting, also known as kirie in Japan. He first discovered this type of art about 30 years while working at a sushi shop. There, he had to learn sasabaran, which is a technique used to create decorations by cutting slices into bamboo leaves. Nagaya found that he was naturally talented and enjoyed the process, too.
These small cut paper pieces fool the eye into thinking that they’re something like energetic pen sketches or decomposing leaves. The precise craft makes them appear as though they’ve been cut by machine, not by hand, because of the incredible, minuscule details.
Although the artist had been creating these pieces for years, it wasn’t until much later that his work was discovered. Eventually, he opened his own restaurant and displayed his kirie on the walls. A local newspaper came to write about the establishment, and while there remarked on his artwork. They encouraged him to show it in galleries, and you can follow Nagaya on Facebook to see his new cutouts. (Via Spoon and Tamago)