Japanese artist Ayumi Shibata uses traditional methods of Japanese paper cutting to create miniature cities within vessels of glass. Her chosen materials reference the delicate relationship humans have with our environment and natural forces of our world, while also relating to the Japanese translation of “paper.” In Japanese, the word for “paper” is “Kami,” which can also mean “god,” “divinity,” or “spirit.” Kami are omnipresent in the Shinto religion, and reside in the sky, ground, trees, and rocks.
“Kami move freely beyond time, universe and places, appearing during events, as well as in our houses and our bodies,” said Shibata on her website. “These spirits also dwell in paper. In the religion of Shinto, white paper is considered a sacred material.”
Using this charged material, Shibata attempts to construct a sculptural dialogue about how we relate and respond to our natural world. Some of Shibata’s work is included in the three-person exhibition Passion Paper at Galerie Atalier Du Genie in Paris through March 27, 2017. (thnx Laura!)
Papercraft duo Zim & Zou (previously) are back at it with one of their most grandiose installations yet for Hermès in Dubai. Each piece is a miniature paper village populated with tiny characters, one centered around towers of fungi, the other based around blooming lotus flowers. Lucie Thomas and Thibault Zimmermann, the names behind Zim & Zou, specialize in designing and building installations out of tangible materials for advertising, product display, and as part of personal artistic pursuits. You can follow more of their recent work on Instagram and Behance.
Paper artist Matthew Shlian (previously here and here) combines his talent for sculpture with a knack for engineering, producing geometric works that are composed of tight-knit tessellations. Shlian’s receptively folded works have lead to collaborations with scientists at the University of Michigan, together working to visualize research by translating paper structures to micro folds.
“Researchers see paper engineering as a metaphor for scientific principals; I see their inquiry as a basis for artistic inspiration,” said Shlian in an artist statement on his website. “In my studio I am a collaborator, explorer and inventor. I begin with a system of folding and at a particular moment the material takes over.”
Mumbai-based illustrator and “paper typographer” Sabeena Karnik produces spectacular letterforms utilizing quilled paper. Her crisp and angular approach relies on precise geometry and perfectly cut strips of paper to produce logos, book covers, and various editorial layouts. Karnik shares her work regularly on Instagram and she occasionally sells original pieces in her shop.
In her ongoing sculptural series titled “The Marriage,” Malaysian artist Noreen Loh Hui Miun merges elements from real and fictional plantlife to create entirely new species. The fragile works begin with dried plant components like branches and moss to which she adds cut laminate petals reminiscent of reptile scales and other colorful components. Though not intentional, the finished works look something like the wild imaginings of children’s book author Dr. Seuss. You can see more pieces by Miun on Facebook.
Colombia-based artist Diana Beltran Herrera (previously here and here) has been fascinated by birds since she was a child, however it wasn’t until four years ago that she started working with their forms. Her incredibly lifelike depictions are built entirely out of cut paper and imitate a variety of bird species from all over the world. Each iteration of her work we have followed with intrigue, including one of her latest projects which incorporates her sculptural pieces into oversized postage stamps from countries which she has always admired.
“I always felt inspired by postage stamps as they are little windows of the world,” said Herrera to Colossal, “specifically those that contain birds which are often traveling around the word. I have collected a few and I felt that I wanted to open those stamps to a much more realistic scale to learn more about that particular animal and its landscape.”
Interested in wildlife far beyond its aesthetics, Herrera is also concerned with the ethical treatment of animals, especially when it comes to the illegal wildlife trade of birds happening in her country and abroad. You can see more of her paper sculptures of birds, fruits, and flowers on her Instagram and Facebook.