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.”
Spring is in full bloom in the work of Anne Ten Donkelaar, as she breathes new life into fragile shards of flora. Using photos of flowers, she collages together lush bouquets of plants in combinations that are unlike any you may find in the wild. Each bloom and root this Netherland based artist creates is mismatched with another. She even combines black and white nature photography with color, creating a striking affect. Donkelaar’s emphasis of the faint, subtle lines of the roots and stems moving through the composition beautifully compliment the flourishing flora. Her magical specimens are delicate and ethereal, as they seem to float in their frame. In fact, her work is suspended above the background by small pins, casting a contrasting shadow behind it.
“Weeds become poetry, each unique twig gets attention, nature seems to float.”
Donkelaar’s work shows off an eclectic assortment of plant types, as she displays cactus, succulents, and fungi amongst the layers and layers of wildflowers. The large variety of hue and color combined with the widely diverse nature in her work creates overwhelming visual detail and beauty that will have you searching through every leaf and pedal. The artist treats each piece with such love as to show the faint detail of each small bud that transforms and evolves into a new and thriving creation.
“By protecting these precious pieces under glass, I give the objects a second life and hope to inspire people to make up their own stories about them.”
Artist Maude White combines her gorgeous illustrative skills with intricate paper cutting expertise to create incredible paper work creations. A self-taught artist, she credits her Waldorf education and artistic family for encouraging her to create.
“I am influenced by my mother’s art a great deal. When I was little she would make wool felt playscapes — little scenes of a tree stump in a forest-covered in plants and animals, a small garden scene with vegetables and apple trees, a playscape for the story The Three Billy Goats Gruff. It was these types of small, precious, complete worlds that drew me to working with paper.” (Source)
Using an X-Acto knife she cuts each piece by hand slicing away the negative space to make elegant figures with fantastic hidden scenes and stories laced into the designs. “It may sound weird, but I love to cut. I just enjoy the process,” she said in an interview.
White’s paper cutting technique is almost unbelievable—the fine lines and elaborate detail are incredibly impressive. What gives these pieces their charm, though, are the whimsical drawings and ornamental designs. They would be lovely drawn on paper, but the delicacy of the paper, the cast shadows, and the ability to look through the empty spaces make these pieces captivating.
“When I cut paper, I feel as if I am peeling back the outer, superficial layer of our vision to reveal the secret space beneath. With paper cutting there are so many opportunities to create negative space that tells its own story. Letting the observer become present in the piece allows him or her to look through it. … I am not creating for Art’s sake. I am creating for Paper’s sake, to make visible the stories that every piece of paper attempts to communicate to us.” (via booooooom)
This incredibly detailed newspaper art or “lace newspapers” are the work of Canadian paper artist Myriam Dion. Using an Exacto knife and a surgeon’s precision, Dion creates intricate lacey shapes using existing text images from newspapers, cutting out white space and leaving some of the paper image in tact. The results are beautiful new images that have been completely transformed through Dion’s skilled paper cutting and fine attention to detail. She creates other deconstructive work, like her ornate burned photograph series.
Artist Brian Adam Douglas makes use of a unique process. Before exhibiting at galleries, Douglas began his practice on the streets of Brooklyn under the name ELBOW-TOE. His distinctive style was easily spotted as he used wood cuts, charcoal, collages, and stencils throughout New York City. Douglas has since further developed his process, style, and subject matter. He has retained his painterly style that could be found in his street art and paintings. However, Douglas now applies this to a special kind of cut paper art or collage work. In fact, he prefers to call it “paper painting”. Douglas paints individual parts of paper precise colors and carefully cuts them. All of these small pieces are then often adhered to a wood panel to create one painting-like composition. While he has often focused on individual people, Douglas has now ‘zoomed out’ in a sense. His work now often encompasses entire landscapes or scenes. These scenes frequently touch on natural disaster and specifically the way people cope with them. The statement of his current exhibit at Andrew Edlin Gallery further describes this style:
“Virtually all of the works in Douglas’ new series deal with the rebuilding of life and purpose in the wake of catastrophic deconstruction brought on by natural disasters and climate change(including overt references to Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy). They are not merely about the breaking down of things but about an innate capacity to cope with disaster and the rehabilitation of purpose. Spending up to half a year on a single piece, Douglas’ laborious process demands a pictorial integrity where nothing is wasted and everything serves his intensity of purpose. Forgoing the relative ease and fluidity of the brush stroke, the artist methodically builds his compositions through shards of color incised from sheets of paper he has painted, forging a novel way to combine painting and collage into a singular hybrid.”
Paper art has especially blossomed in the past few years. Few, perhaps none, are more meticulously detailed and worked the sculptures of Rogan Brown. His pieces seem organic, as if grown rather than cut. Their reflection of nature if further reflected in the medium, paper not far removed from trees. He says of his sculptures:
“My work is an exploration and re-presentation of natural organic forms both mineral and vegetal. I look for patterns and repeated motifs that run through natural phenomena at different scales, from the microscopic to the macroscopic, from individual cells to large scale geological formations.” (via)
Massive, glowing webs of geometric gems climb the walls, successfully controlling the behavior of early afternoon light—while soaking the empty surfaces of the space with gentle washes of color. It’s only upon close inspection that the pieces reveal themselves to be painstakingly handcrafted, light-as-a-feather paper sculptures by Brooklyn-based artist Kirsten Hassenfeld. She applies her sharp paper craft skill set to creating fanciful, (if not slightly frivolous) site-specific works that command presence, but in reality are quite ephemeral. A nice study of pure form, movement and spatial composition.
Vietnamese paper artist Nguyễn Hùng Cường creates origami pieces in a style that is distinctively his own. His pieces often begin with dó paper – a unique paper, made from the bark of the rhamnoneuron balansae, that is traditionally made throughout many of Vietnam’s villages. Typically striving to create his work from only one sheet of paper, he has been known to often fold work from a single bill of Vietnamese money. Nguyễn has been working in origami since he was just a small child creating his first original piece at ten years old. [via]