Favorite Paper Artists

This is Jason Thompson again with another bookbinding, paper art post from the Rag & Bone Blog! Just a reminder: decor8 readers can save 20% on Rag & Bone Albums & Books at our online boutique, simply enter this discount code during checkout [good through Sunday, 08/24/08]. In addition to books and bookbinding, I just love paper, all kinds really. As a bookbinder, I'm fortunate to be able to work with many different types of papers here in the studio, one-of-a-kind handmade sheets, delicate Japanese Yuzen papers, imported Indian block prints, I even have a sheet of handmade paper with hundreds of houseflies in it - a surprise from one of our papermakers who found the flies in an attic window and figured - why not. Like books, paper can be transformed into so many different kinds of work. Here are a few of my favorite paper artists.

Justine Smith Holly introduced you to British artist Justine Smith a few years ago but I have to highlight her work again. Smith uses paper currency solely as her design medium. Look closely at these floral arrangements, they're made entirely from paper money! For Smith, currency has become her canvas, knife and scissors her brush. I've featured several artists at the Rag & Bone Blog who use paper money as their medium, which is after all simply paper. But we are so used to assigning value to currency, that even in the creative floral arrangements and dioramas Justine creates, we can't help but see her "paper" as still having a face value, a value beyond the art. This is central to Justine's practice. Her work is an exploration of our relationship with money and our response to it.

Francesca Vitali Irvine, California paper artist and Italian expat Francesca Vitali, AKA: Frucci Designs, turns magazine pages and other types of paper into original kirigami inspired jewelry. She utilizes origami paper techniques to create geometric shapes which are assembled into necklaces and bracelets. Most pieces are created using recycled papers together with traditional materials like wood, metal and glass. Her work is affordable and sure to get lots of oohs and ahhs and surprised looks when you tell them it's made out of paper!

FYI: Everyone has a hidden talent it seems and if you follow your creative spirit you never know where you'll end up: Francesca has a degree in chemistry and received her PHD in organic chemistry in Switzerland. You can see the geometric and organic influences in her designs. Science and design merge!

Annette Meyer Danish artist Annette Meyer creates 'disposable' clothing using wrapping materials from around the world. She says her inspiration comes from the meeting place between consumer society and the human body, bridging the world of art and fashion. She creates custom wedding dresses and tailor-made suits for advertisement agencies with the aim of creating special attention through the use of unusual materials.

Her series of paper dresses titled "ICON Dressed" showcase classic fashion cuts throughout history, from the 1800's to the 1990's. You can date many of the dresses just from their style and cut. Each one is made from the same floral patterned paper which is based on prints from Flora Danica porcelain motifs. You can spot the 1950's dresses between the 40's & 60's - fashion really changed quite a bit in those decades.

Rob Ryan Rob Ryan, AKA: Mister Rob, is a London-based artist who primarily creates paper cut works, through from this creative starting point he applies his paper-cut style to a variety of applications: Screenprints, textiles, ceramics, etc. Rob has paper-cut his way into posh magazines such as Vogue and Amelia, and even designed "Erasures" latest CD covers. His work reminds me a little of RISD's own Kara Walker.

Rob has a unique style, a little sad, a little whistful, a little bit ironic. You can peruse an extensive portfolio at his website. He also has a wildly popular Etsy site where you can pick up original paper cut pieces (Starting at $500), tiles, screen prints and cards.

Nel Linssen These delicate and striking necklaces and bracelets are all made from paper. Artist Nel Linssen doesn't divulge the secrets to her method, but she has a minimalist style and precise technical style. What we can tell are that they are folded and possibly laced onto an inner string or wire. What keeps their twisted forms together? I'm not sure really, but I love the mystery. Nel has a great color sense, each piece is sophisticated and understated. Though if you were fortunate enough to own and wear one it would certainly be the center of attention. Their forms are organic and look as if they would move with the wearer. Be sure to check out Nels online gallery for even more eye candy. And if you're interested in purchasing one of her pieces, they'll set you back: necklaces average around $1,200.00 - $1,400.00.

Beatrice Coron New York artist Beatrice Coron's beautiful paper-cut silhouettes use shadow, negative space and a graphic style to create playful and quirky narratives. Most of these images are from her "Personal Cities" paper-cut series which began with the idea of imagining a city containing all of the essential elements of one single person's life. Coron asked friends to describe the kind of city they would like to call home. She then made a paper-cut image of each person's wishes, developing the concepts to their visual potential. The finished pieces are large, some several feet square.

Beatrice was born and raised in Lyon, France and has been living and working in New York City since 1984. In addition to her paper-cuts, she also designs book covers, furniture and even welded & cut gates and iron fences, which is a natural extension to her paper cutting work. You can view her work in person at The Latin American Workshop Gallery in New York City this month from July 31st to August 30th. Also at the 2008 International PaperWorks Competition August 2-31, 2008 at the B.J. Spoke Gallery, Huntington, NY.

Do you have any favorite paper artists that you'd like to share?

(images linked to sources above, text from rag & bone bindery's jason thompson)