Art by a piece of paper…a piece of cake?
Author: Electra Safari
Five letters, one word: PAPER.
The most common substance wherever we exist. What paper stands for according to our most familiar online encyclopaedia, Wikipedia, is a type of thin material produced by pressing together moist fibres and drying them into flexible sheets. However, paper can have many distinct uses as it is unimaginably versatile! A paper can be thin or thick, it can have one colour, two colours, numerous colours, it can be size A0, A1, A2, A3, A4, A5, it can be folded 7 times, it can cover a book, a gift, a wall, it can be your world map, your poster, your tissues, your diary, your carpet, it can clean your kitchen, your window, your face, it can be the surface to write your thoughts, to communicate them, to draw, to type, to print on it, to construct a box, an airplane, a boat, a mask, a puppet, a table game, a folder, it can be the mean to generally express yourself, it can be art.
Paper art; the type of art that originated in Japan over a thousand years ago and today is an expanding design field that is hardly ever discussed. What’s the reason behind that? Simple; it is made of paper and for that we tend to underestimate its value.
However, to what extent are artworks made of paper a piece of cake as most would think? Sometimes that could be the case when, for instance, remembering of those paper planes we used to construct during our school years. Those flying planes used to be the simplest and easiest form of paper art. Taking things to a slightly higher level, we could refer to the well-known origami art that still impresses. Or we could refer to artworks made simply of colourful post-it notes.
However, there is a minority of creative folks that takes things to a far more challenging level, and prove that paper artworks can be extraordinarily superb! This minority surprises with their ability to literally conjure paper into sculptures, jewelleries, collages, objects, fashion and so on. Among some of these masterpieces we can distinguish the mesmerising one-sheet sculptures of Nahoko Kojima and the 3 dimensional pseudo realistic paper portraits of Bert Simons, whose naturalness makes someone shudder! Also the paper sculptures of contemporary artist Jen Stark and the spiral works of Charles Clary, consisting of as many as 4,000 individual cut sheets of paper, up to 30 panels, and over 14,000 spacers each, that force the human eye to get lost in endless colourful labyrinths. These artists greatly confirm why paper designs should grace museums and exhibitions throughout the world.
Moreover, Yulia Brodskaya, another contemporary artist, entertains our eyes with her provoking 2-dimensional visual fusions, made with such explicit detail. Then Zim & Zou, James Seet and Helen Musselwhite perfectly indicate how to take branding to the next level just by involving paper in your creation.
And because paper art is not only about observing, Ukranian graphic designer Yurko Gutsulyak won the competition between New Year’s Eve cards with his Dragon greeting card that you wouldn’t avoid noticing! Designed in a truly 3D way, the card can be appreciated from multiple angles.
Similarly, designer Naoki Kawamoto delivered the most fashionably designed item for women, ‘Orisiki’; a smartly folded paper clutch inspired by Origami folding and Furoshiki, a Japanese traditional wrapping cloth which is large enough to wrap and transport goods and gifts. The result looks more like an art piece!
All these and much more artworks from paper take our breath away, surprise and astound! All these art pieces and designs that unfold the fact that “beside living in a digital era, our love affair with paper has by no means diminished.”