Paper Whimsy: Top 5 Artists
The best thing to die for if you’re a tree, or what Darwin has to do with the visual scent of winter.
By Maria Popova
Let’s get one thing straight. We aren’t fans of “pointless paper” — we take our toilet paper recycled, our notes digital, and our magazines online. And while the waste of paper is frowned upon around here, its artistic uses are a whole different story. Here are 5 fascinating instances of paper-centric creativity.
Russian-born, UK-based artist Yulia Brodskaya is a creative force to be reckoned with.
Her meticulously detailed, brilliantly crafted paper typography is unlike anything else we’ve seen. Not coincidentally, clients like Wired, Starbucks, Nokia, The New York Times Magazine, and many more seem to share our sentiment — Brodskaya’s work has graced the covers of various top-tier magazines and has appeared in multiple ad campaigns by the world’s leading creative agencies.
For us, it’s just a testament to the fact that you can take something utterly mundane, douse it in your unique brand of creativity, and transform it into something utterly original.
This has to be the most innovative fragrance advertising we’ve ever seen.
Swiss visual communication student Adrian Merz decided to capture the essence of the fragrance Winter 1972 in an elaborate kit that comes with every 100ml bottle of the perfume. In it, there’s a poster that unfolds into a room transformed into a whimsical winterscape composed of thousands of white Post-It notes.
Adrian actually created the scene in his own living room — an undertaking just as laborious as you’d imagine it to be. But the end result is nothing short of phenomenal, both visually compelling and conceptually brilliant.
See more of the impressive making-of, and never look at a Post-It the same way again.
UK-based artist Helen Musselwhite has the imaginative prowess of a brilliant art director and the hands of a skilled craftsman. Her hand-cut paper sculptures are as impactful as they are visually stunning, drawing you into intricate and whimsical scenes that take on a life of their own.
Each sculpture has at least 4 layers of different-colored paper, assembled on top of each other to give the image dimension.
You can order some of Helen’s artwork online — the one tricky thing about appreciating paper art from a digital distance is that you lose out on all the rich tactile and dimensional detail of the piece.
We’ve always had an odd fascination with toilet paper rolls. Unfortunately, we never did much with it. But Japanese artist Yuken Teruya did.
In his signature style of taking everyday objects and transforming them into works of art reflecting on contemporary culture, Teruya creates intricate trees without adding or removing anything, just by cutting silhouettes into the paper and folding them out — a conceptual critique of contemporary consumerism and our tendency to add more to our lives while taking away from nature.
Teruya also works with paper bags, crafting objects of visual irony by juxtaposing the very resources that consumerism depletes with its quintessential symbol — the shopping bag.
Most of us don’t see A4 paper. To us, it’s just a carrier for whatever message is typed and printed on it. Not so for artist Peter Callesen, who has a special relationship with the materiality of A4 paper — a literal tabula rasa, each neutral and unassuming sheet allows him to create paper sculptures brimming with romance, tragedy and offbeat humor.
The sculptures are an exploration of probability — what the paper could be, how it could expand into the space surrounding it.
The negative and absent 2 dimensional space left by the cut, points out the contrast to the 3 dimensional reality it creates, even though the figures still stick to their origin without the possibility of escaping. In that sense there is also an aspect of something tragic in many of the cuts.
See more of Callesen’s creations and revel in the artistic potential of your office space.
Published April 9, 2009