Friday, 16 December 2011

Earth star

Earth star is the last of the current series of paper cuttings entitled Floating Worlds. It’s also the biggest and most complex of the series.

 It took almost 2 months to cut and paint.

Approx 80cm in diameter  this complex organic world floats aimlessly. Inside there are tiny creatures that live there. Are they trapped or are they the rulers of this kingdom?
At the last count there were 24 beetles and one butterfly!

 Here you can see Earth star's shadow projected onto the wall behind.

This piece along with four others from this recent series of paper cuttings will be exhibited in January and February of next year in Taipei.... but more on that nearer the time.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011


Here’s a new painted paper cutout that’s part of a recent body of work of small  floating organic worlds. It’s entitled Rhizospere 50cmx30cm.

The Rhizosphere is the thin top layer of soil where many tiny organisms and the roots of plants exist side by side.

As a child I remember digging my fingers into the soil and examining the results – bits of decaying plants, tiny bugs, worms, roots, strangely shaped pieces of I don’t know what (maybe bones). This was a mysterious parallel world to my own. Beautiful and strangely alluring.

Is the butterfly trapped or is it the King of this small world?

The shadows are important, a colourless version of this world.

Here is Rhizosphere backlit.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Details, details, details

Here are some details from five of my recent paper cuttings. These organic 'clumps' contain a variety of life. The most identifiable being butterflies. Are the butterflies the king of the clumps or are they trapped in these organic webs. These paper cut outs are about a shadowy world full of secrets and surprises.

Is this butterfly trapped?

The shadow shows the real complexity of these paper cutouts

 There are bubbles in there too.

A detail from of the work featured in my previous post, Pink Mist. Can you spot the butterfly in the shadow?

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Pink Mist

Pink Mist is the fourth paper cut from a new body of work.

I’m still trying to figure out why and how this new body of work came about. I think it is a reaction to the highly rigid structure of my paper cuts.  For these new pieces my inspiration came from a number of sources -
  • Decaying leaves, full of holes and patterns. yet still strong and complete. Trees that grow in random and chaotic ways.

  • Working on experimental paintings with the most excellent Thomas Ebele. His working methods involves pouring paint and letting it create the imagery. For me this was an attempt to play with colour and random abstract imagery. Here’s an example of his work ‘Bull by the horns’ 2008.

For Pink Mist I poured, dribbled and splashed paint onto paper. Then I started to cut into it using the paint marks as my guide. Into this I also added some imagery – a butterfly trapped in the web of branches.  

By cutting and carving into the paint the work becomes sculptural  and the shapes, lines and colours take on new meanings. I then work into the paint to highlight and emphasize the flow, shapes and colours.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Summer paper cutting workshop

During the summer I was lucky enough to be invited to do a 1.5 day paper cutting workshop for children at Taipei's Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA).

The kids had lots of fun (I hope!) making all kinds of interesting and fun cuts.

We designed and cut beautiful butterflies,

Our own cartoon characters,

And paper chains.

What did we do with all the paper scraps? - we decorated masks!

The kids' imagination and skills were fantastic and it's amazing how it all feeds into my own artwork. Great Fun! and Great Learning!

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Kirie of the World 2011

Keeping a blog is much harder than it seems. Putting up interesting posts regularly requires the writer to be disciplined and focused. Unfortunately at the moment I am neither!! Must be the summer blues!

Now back to my silk paper cutting art. Currently I am exhibiting with 7 other paper cutting artists in ‘Kirie (paper cutting) of the world’ at the Fujikawa museum in Japan’.

I traveled there to attend the opening a few weeks ago. An awesome experience. Here’s a video to commemorate the show. See if you can spot me. I’m the middle aged British guy wearing a black shirt who at one point wears his paper cut on his head!

The main building of the Fujikawa Museum

Some of my newer work on display. See my previous post for a description of the work.

IIt’s great to see my work alongside such talented paper cutting artists Aoyama Hina, Tatsumi Maasaki, Beatrice Coron, Bovey Lee, Andrea Tezso, Patrick Gannon, Rehane Favereau, …..and myself.

From L-R Patrick Gannon. Tatsumi Maasaki, Aoyama Hina & myself

Artists' demonstrations - Maasaki

Artists' demonstrations - Hina. Her work is unbelievably small!

When I finished my demonstration piece I gave it to this gentleman who'd been patiently watching.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Nature Studies

Here are some new paper cuts I’ve been working on recently. Although still paper cuts they show a very new direction. I am looking for a freer, more spontaneous and abstract way to create. The inspiration for these new cuts were the natural patterns, shapes and colours found in the skeletal remains of leaves, soft moist green mosses, hard craggy worn rocks and the tiny animals that live within.

Blue Butterfly (73cm diameter): Search carefully for the tiny blue butterfly making its way around a sinewy forest.

Natural green (73cm diameter): Lush green moist moss


Purple Beetle (73cm diameter): A skeletal leaf was the inspiration for this one. I exaggerated the shapes and colours and added the remains of a few butterflies. The Purple Beetle is in there somewhere, too. Look carefully and you’ll find it!


Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Talks and Workshops

Recently I’ve given talks and workshops about my silk paper cuttings. One was at ARC (a meeting place/ restaurant) where I gave a speech to a group of Taiwanese designers / cutters / art lovers. The feedback was good and fun was had by all. Surprisingly no one fell asleep!

Here's me introducing my work and making shadows.

Designer, Ben, asks a question.

A local TV news programme did a feature on me for the lifestyle section of their show. It was a kind of ‘day in the life of’. I took them to my art shop, places that inspire me and even to one of my favorite restaurants.

Here we are in the artshop where I buy my silk. Standing next to me is the owner, John, who introduced me to silk paper many years ago.

I also did two workshops at ARC – one for kids and one for adults. Both took the theme of paper cutting as a way to tell stories about ourselves. Fantastic paper cuts were created and I think everyone had a good time… I hope! In the Kids’ workshop we cut symetrical figures based on an important experience moment in our lives, e.g. one was about learning to ride a skateboard.

In the Adults’ work shop we focused on round symmetrical cuts that told stories. This workshop was as much about designing the architecture of the work as it was about telling the story.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Typhoon Tales

Here's the newest piece from my recent show. Entitled 'Typhoon tales' it is cut into a 2m long silk paper scroll and displayed on a black paper background. Photographing such a strong red is frustratingly difficult so the photos don’t show the real colour.

As an expat living in Taiwan two things I'm aware of are the abundance of motorbikes and the annual typhoons. Local TV news crews rush out to the windiest, stormiest point and foolish reporters try to file their live reports. They stand in the howling wind and rain, clinging to some inanimate object while holding a microphone. Their reports always state the obvious, “It’s windy here and the rain is heavy.”

The other thing news crews do is to film other people out in the storm and they’ll always manage to find motorcyclists battling the winds and inevitably being blown off or getting stuck in floods. My question is why go out in such bloody awful weather on a motorbike?

In this silk paper cut my dancing boys fear no storm, but even they are beaten by the mighty typhoon as they get swept along in the wind, rain and flood.

Here's one of the preliminary sketches. I spent a long, long time on the design process making sure that everything would hang together and not collapse. Papercutting is as much about the ‘architecture’ of the piece as well as the image.