BLOG FEATURE: THE PROCESS BEHIND THE PIECE
TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF
I am an artist living in Melbourne, Australia. I trained as a painter and I have done illustration work in various mediums. Now I concentrate on the technique of papercutting.
WHAT IS THE STORY BEHIND THIS WORK?
This piece is called 'Carrington Road' It depicts a street scene in my suburb. It is typical of series of papercuts from my last exhibition. I have become an observer of the rapid changes taking place in and around my home environment. I have seen my suburb evolve from a mid-twentieth century quiet suburb to a modern vibrant city with a significant Chinese community. I use imagery of construction work, technology, offices, shops and restaurants to convey the energy of the street. I contrast these images with the intimate domestic scenes taken from my home and garden. For me this series has been an expression and an exploration of my own sense of belonging in a time of rapid change in my immediate community and Australia more generally.
HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE IDEA?
I regularly walk to nearby shops and services and I am fond of observing the skyline. It tells us a lot about our modern way of living. While walking along busy Carington Road, I was particularly taken with the interlocking patterns created by the leaves of trees, street lights, overhead wires and a mobile phone tower. I am also interested in how birds adapt to a changing environment like this. There are many Asian restaurants in Carrington Road so it was one of the first papercuts I did that took on an Asian feel.
WALK US THROUGH THE CREATIVE PROCESS BEHIND MAKING THIS PIECE OF ART
Generally I start with a rough idea of what I want to do by drawing a thumbnail sketch of the composition. For me the overall design is important to establish a dynamic and 'readable' design. There has to be a satisfying combination of positive and negative shapes used in the picture and I have to work out how every part is connected as only one piece of paper is used. Details are created or taken from my photographs and are added to a new sketch. I make as many preliminary sketches as I need until I am happy with the whole image. I then enlarge it on tracing paper, reverse it and trace it on the back of coloured paper. Finally I cut my composition from the back.
WHAT ARE YOUR SOURCES OF INSPIRATION?
I love the patterns of both Celtic and Asian Art. But mostly I am inspired by the patterns in architecture, domestic decor and natural forms from my surroundings. I like to juxtapose organic shapes of clouds, birds trees with geometric forms taken from buildings and inside my home. My focus on contoured shapes, silhouettes, shadows and patterning is not just decorative but also conveys a sense of character of the place I record.
WHAT EQUIPMENT/TOOLS DO YOU USE?
I mostly use 160gsm Canson acid free pastel paper, silhouette paper, painted rice paper for smaller works and lots of 10A blades! I do a lot of drawing with pencil and brush and ink to work out ideas. While I am about I take many photos with my IPhone of people, food, patterning, silhouettes, buildings , trees - anything that can be used for inspiration.
HOW LONG DID THE PIECE TAKE YOU TO COMPLETE?
A large papercut like this can take a few weeks (working a few hours everyday). Most of my time can be in researching and drawing up the image. Cutting is fairly straight forward and becomes almost like a meditative activity while working.
My last exhibition can be viewed online at: