Posts tagged Paper
Paper, Silk, and Brass Sculptures About Nature by Juliette Sallin


I am a visual artist who has always been fascinated by the way we perceive and remember the landscape through our senses. I translate this interest into sculptures made of paper, silk, brass and other materials. I select them for their ability to transcribe the beauty of the elements with their shapes and colours of course, but also for their tactile qualities.

Enlightened by my own experiences of Nature, by the non-dualistic oriental philosophies, the phenomenological philosophy of Merleau-Ponty, and the environmental writings of David Abram, I perceive our inner plenitude as a communion with Nature and the elements.

During the process, I borrow various crafts’ techniques, such as embroidery, silk dyeing, paper decoupage and metal forming. By assimilating these gestures in my artistic practice, I get closer to a form of humbleness and sincerity, where patience and mastery of the mind help me to get closer to my subject and to recreate, in a subjective way, the sensations I experienced in a brief moment of fullness. 


Born in 1980 in Geneva, Switzerland, Juliette Sallin studied textile design at the University of Florence, new media at the HEAD Geneva and Kingston University (GB). Two-time recipient of the swiss Ikea Foundation (2009 and 2013), Juliette has exhibited in Switzerland and Great Britain.  Her work is held in private collections in Europe and north America.

Large-Scale Paper Installations by Clare Celeste Börsch

Clare Celeste Börsch is an international artist best known for her large-scale paper installations and lush compositions of flora and fauna. Pushing the limits of assemblage and collage, Clare uses found, photographed, and hand-painted images to create artworks that span from works on paper to large-scale installations. Her portfolio includes clients in New York, London, Los Angeles, Houston, Berlin, Copenhagen, Barcelona, Milan, Victoria, and Perth. She lives in Berlin with her husband and son.  

I enjoy creating immersive spaces. I want work that draws people in and momentarily transports them somewhere surreal.
— Clare Celeste Börsch


Clare has been assimilating to different cultures and environments her entire life – having lived in Brazil, the US, Italy, Honduras, Argentina, and Germany. Rich with texture and detail, each composition pays tribute to her capacity to transform her archive of experiences into hallucinogenic ecosystems of their own. The lush assemblages of fauna and flora exude a visceral and intimate fragility. They speak to the mutable nature of memories as reconstructions that border on mythologies.

Jackie Leishman

Leishman grew up in Georgia, moving to the Los Angeles area after completing her Masters of Fine Arts degree from the Academy of Art in San Francisco. Originally trained as a photographer, she now works in collage.  Her work investigates the interrelationship between painting, drawing, and collage. 

 She has shown her work nationally, won awards, and taught photography and fine art at universities in Utah and California. She has participated in art residencies at The Anderson Center in Red Wing, MN and PressWorks in Claremont, CA. She was most recently commissioned by Emily Henderson Designs, and was exhibited in the Downtown LA Arts District, had a solo show in Utah, “If We Ever Wake At All”, and continues to participate in the ever-evolving art collaboration, “The Fourth Artist.” 


The world is collage to me. What happens at the edges and among the layers, where two different materials or ideas meet — that’s where I’m drawn. I have bins and bins of paper and scraps in my studio. It is important to my process that I not use virgin working materials but rather fragments of older work and found materials. Something from something. Beauty from ashes. It’s also important for me to show the sometimes-raw joints, the roughness of their coming together, to be candid about the process of layering and to leave the hand of the artist apparent. 

The push and pull between two ideas intrigues me most: the animating tensions between destruction and creation, expansion and contraction, and explosion and implosion. These ideas are embodied in the wilderness. The only constant in the wild is that it will change, that an element can and will be both violent and passive, opposites held in a balance. In a world that is increasingly contentious, the need to feel peace within the chaos becomes more desperate. By drawing, painting and collaging, I seek to find an equivalent to the peace found in wild places. 

Aly Morgan

Led purely by a natural sense of curiosity, Aly Morgan follows each spark of inspiration until it leads to a new discovery - either about herself, the world or her place within it. Although she prefers to work with acrylic paint and newsprint, inspiration has led her to try many unconventional materials in the journey of finding her creative voice. Her early works were heavily influenced by her days as a jewelry designer and were created using items such as wire, fine silver and found objects. Now specializing in hand painted and found paper collage, she works intuitively to create compelling combinations of shapes and color to convey stories of self-discovery. As a self-taught artist, she has explored expressing her ideas for many years using different mediums but has focused the last 6 months on unraveling her own personal definition of art. In doing so, she has created a large body of work that reflects not only her current inspirations but also explores themes such as womanhood, connection, and language. Her most recent series, Native Tongue, explores the relationship between an artist and what inspires them as well as celebrates the translation of that inspiration into one’s work. By using her literal inspirations to create abstract characters, she is continually building a language in which the forms are all at once familiar yet foreign, while challenging the viewer to seek their own interpretation.


Inspiration is everything to me. It is what motivates me, leads my creative process and ultimately, what nourishes my soul. A concept that is the cornerstone in creating my personal work is what I call “following the golden thread”. To me, it simply means following a spark of inspiration to see where it leads.

Having lived most of my life believing that art was simply paintings that hung in museums, it wasn’t until I was introduced to mixed-media art 12 years ago, that I learned differently. Once I discovered that art was not just for long ago masters to create, I was compelled to seek my own definition of what art could be.

I am fascinated by color and what it can convey. I am continuously exploring ways to combine color and shape in order to translate a thought or feeling into a recognizable form. While I continue to explore various techniques, I am most drawn to creating my own collage material using acrylic paint and newsprint. Although they are humble materials, they allow me to create endless combinations of colors and shapes.

I am most inspired by finding beauty in unexpected places, so while my work is unapologetically feminine in color and themes, it is also heavily influenced by my love of long forgotten and neglected objects. I feel my most compelling pieces are ones that marry color with organic texture and invite the viewer to seek their own interpretation.

Huntz Liu

Huntz is a Los Angeles based artist who works with layered cut paper. 


My work is an excavation of sorts. 

With a straight edge and knife, I cut and layer paper to expose geometric/abstract compositions. The shapes making these compositions sit on different planes, which create literal depth, while the composition itself creates perceived depth. It is this intersection of the literal and perceived that informs the work; where the absence of material reveals forms and the casting of shadows creates lines. And together, they help with finding what’s hidden beneath the surface.

‘SUAIKA’ ART PANELS: A Creative Collaboration in (Washi) Paper & Pigment 

April 2, 2018   Tokushima, Japan

Inquiries: Craig Anczelowitz

‘SUAIKA’ ART PANELS: A Creative Collaboration in (Washi) Paper & Pigment 

SUAIKA (‘SU’ = Sumi  / ‘AI’ = Aizome (Indigo)  / KA=Kakishibu (Persimmon)

Venerable 8th generation papermaker, Awagami Factory proudly launches a new creative collaboration between Japanese indigo artisan, Mieko Fujimori + American designer, Craig Anczelowitz. 16 contemporary art panels crafted with purely organic pulp and pigments locally sourced in Tokushima; An East-meets-West art collection steeped in tradition yet thoroughly modern.


BAMBOO FOREST Deeply rooted in Japanese culture, Bamboo has touched nearly every aspect of life here for centuries – these art panels follow in the storied tradition. The plants unique combination of strength and suppleness is celebrated in this work as bamboo elegantly stretches across a snow-like paper landscape

SHIFU Traditional Japanese paper string (shifu) lends its name to these works. Contrasting tones in a double-layered composition provide a wonderful depth in each piece. Because of subtle variations in organic pigment and handmade washi, each panel serves as a beautiful ode to nature and the Japanese craft tradition.

YANAGI’S surface waves gracefully in an elegant composition of texture & tone. Made by repeated folding and dip-dyeing in Tokushima’s famed indigo, each art panel is a singular creative expression of master artisan, Mieko Fujimori.

MOSAIC is crafted from extra thick hand-cast paper; a specialty of Awagami master papermakers and feature a dramatic interplay of organic and geometric forms resulting in compositions that are both visually and texturally impressive



Craig Anczelowitz (b. NY, NY 1966)

Since 1997, Craig has worked alongside master craftsmen in Italy, India, Thailand and Japan honing his creative skills. HIs award-winning home décor, toys and stationery designs may be found in many of the worlds’ best retail stores and curated boutiques.  Craig has served as guest design lecturer at Parsons and Pratt Schools of Design, NY School of Visual Arts and has more recently lead workshops in Thailand aimed at fostering young Thai design talent.

Mieko Fujimori (b. Tokushima, Japan 1951)

 Awagami Factory’s Mieko Fujimori has been carrying on the tradition of Tokushima indigo “aizome” natural dyeing for nearly 30 years having learned the skills from her mother-in-law, craftswomen Tsune Fujimori. Mieko-sans indigo washi papers have more and more become an integral part of Awagamis overall creative milieu and have recently been featured in articles for ANA airlines, Casa Brutus and NHK.

Awagami Factory: Interview with Craig Anczelowitz

"Awagami Factory" is a brand of Japanese washi papers produced solely in Tokushima, Japan. Awagami operates on 8 generations of family knowledge and skill focusing on quality and refinement within this world-heritage craft. Awagami papers are used by the world's leading artists, photographers, designers, bookbinders and conservators and unlike other washi of unknown origin, guarantee their papers 100%.

Responding to the needs of artists and creators, Awagami strives to incorporate washi paper into contemporary society and is known as a modern-day facilitator of washi culture. Besides creating the worlds most trusted Japanese papers, Awagami also operates a paper museum, runs international papermaking workshops, maintains an ongoing artist-in-residency program and a multi-disciplinary printmaking lab. The mill also collaborates with artists on custom-made papers and has most recently created the Awagami International Miniprint Exhibition; a juried printmaking show (for works on any type of washi) with over $10,000 award in cash and prizes.

It is Awagami’s desire to promote the beauty of Japanese washi and to proudly pass washi culture on to the next generation….and then well on into the future.

Awagami is a generous sponsor of our call for art and will be giving away $300 worth of fine Japanese paper to one lucky winner selected for issue IX.


When was Awagami Paper founded and what is the story behind the company?

Awagami's Fujimori family has been making washi paper for over 200 years going back 8 generations. In the old days, papermakers were farmers who during the winter months turned to making paper to earn additional income while there were no crops. Traditionally, Japanese papermakers never used a "brand" or added an identifying mill watermark to their paper as they were simply 'humble craftsman. With an influx of Japanese-style papers entering the market from other countries and an increased artist interest in their papers origin, we established the "Awagami" brand in the 1980's.


What makes Awagami paper different? Tell us about the unique properties of your materials. 

Awagami paper or "washi" is typically made using eco-friendly/renewable fibers such as kozo (mulberry), gampi, hemp and more-and-more, bamboo. These plant-based fibers renew annually providing hundreds of usable harvests over the plants lifetime.  Typically, washi paper is thinner than Western papers however these papers are remarkably strong and resilient. Awagami makes a few hundred types of paper suitable for fine art, conservation and even digital/inkjet printing.


Japan has a history of beautiful paper. How is this tradition continued and used by contemporary artists today?

Because of the inherent beauty, strength and archival qualities of washi paper, artists are still drawn to using them.  Our mill works with many inspirational creators who use Awagami papers for many types of work including fine art, product and interior design, etc.  Awagami maintains an artist-in-residency program and washi paper museum to promote contemporary artworks on washi.  In recent years, we have seen a growing demand for inkjet/digital papers, so our collection of "AIJP" inkjet papers has gained traction with professional photographers looking to give a new dimension to their prints. Traditional printmakers have also started to use these inkjet papers to create "hybrid printworks" by combining digital output + traditional print techniques (lithography, silkscreen, etching, etc…) in a single print.


Name a few interesting facts about your company that artists should be aware of. 

-We are one of the few mills in Japan to make such a wide variety of papers (art, inkjet, conservation, interior)…. Done in an effort to adapt washi to meet the demands of a more modern following WII.  

-Awagami's 6th generation master papermaker, Minoru Fujimori was awarded by the Emperor of Japan as a 'National Sacred Treasure'

-We have often accepted challenges by artists to make unique custom papers and have the ability to make some of the largest handmade papers in the world…some of which you can see in works by Chuck Close, Richard Serra, Frank Stella, Yu Youhan and Ding Yi.

-Although our papers are sold in over 50 countries, we are still a small family-operated papermill. 


Is it possible to visit the factory when in Japan?

Of course, sure…..our mill and washi paper museum are open to the public from Tues.-Sun. Please visit, make paper, visit our paper shop and galleries, etc… We also hold 2 annual International workshops each year (in January  & August).  More information may be found on our website: or via our facebook page.


Where can we learn more about the products and purchase it?

Our website has more information and a page of international Awagami stockists. Also, please check out our facebook page as we update it regularly with papermaking photos, interesting paper facts, paper artworks and other paper goodness.  Feel free to message us there anytime too if you have specific questions and/or paper needs.

Elise Wehle

My process revolves around the time-intensive act of cutting intricate patterns using a utility knife. Moving my hands in the repetitive movements required by my work transforms my art practice into a meditative experience.

The themes of my art are centered on my attempts to connect my physical surroundings with the rich, complicated, internal and spiritual environment experienced within. The cut-out pattern interferes with the representational imagery, obstructing the seen with the unseen. No matter how many paper layers intersect with the representational image of the photograph, the cut outs ultimately act as negative space, forming lines and shapes out of nothing. Despite the patterns’ clearly defined edges, they are actually invisible, like the experiences they represent.

Interview: Katy Schmader

First a photographer, and now a collage artist working in paper, Katy Schmader integrates the two media through meticulously executed, abstract landscape collages. Those collages explore the connection between the tactile traces of a physical environment, an art-historic tradition of landscape aesthetics, and a potentially new system of culturally relevant landscape semiotics. 

At first encounter, any natural environment that is unmarked by human influence constitutes a diverse tapestry of visual information, but one without consciousness — created by, and existing in, a vacuum of human irrelevance. 

Humans then fill that vacuum with a mixture of contexts, concerns, and utilities that we already bear. And as we do, those once very raw environmental aesthetics gradually become processed and appropriated into a thoroughly well-developed system of visual vocabulary, and visual trade, which is then accessed and encountered daily by inhabitants of a very complex culture, and those inhabitants have little connection to, or deep awareness of, the natural origins for those aesthetics. 

And with each applied use, as those aesthetics become further integrated into our cultural consciousness, and further distanced from their origins, they begin to take on new meaning. They begin to signify our ability as a species to extend our concerns, and our humanity, to encase in our own sentiments whatever it is that we encounter. And in the grandest sense, this is what connects humanity to every ecosystem, and, in doing so, represents a higher practicality, and higher responsibility, for human consciousness. 

Each collage is comprised of paper that has been dyed with natural, earthly elements, striped and torn, boiled, burned, waxed, crumpled — and then flattened. The resulting strips are then pressed together to create an intimate landscape. Inspired by ancient wood blocking techniques, collages are carefully crafted to create the ‘block’ from which an edition of prints is created. Substituting the press for the scanner, the piece is manipulated and blown-up creating a new relationship between block and print — one that when exhibited together allows for cross examination.


You mention that you were initially a photographer. What inspired you to start working with collage? 

I found myself spending less and less time with my camera; only being able to shoot when I was traveling. Those trips were few and far between, but I was restless to create. The collages evolved out of some simple experiments with paper. I was fascinated with the way paper pulled apart and the way different materials absorbed dyes.

I’m not sure I would have come to this process without my love for photography and the scan was definitely a happy accident that evolved from documenting my work for my website. I was really unhappy with the way the camera was creating space in-between the layers; the scanner created this beautiful one-dimensional piece that hid the layers of the collage.

I still consider my process to be very photographic. In many ways, the original landscapes are similar to a photographic negative in that they represent a first step in the process —  one initial set of limitations. From there, several potential expressions can still be coaxed out of the original collage in order to create a final print. It extends the creative process one further step, in much the same way photography breaks down into a shooting component and a printing component.


How does each piece come to life? Tell us about your process and visual inspiration. 

I draw inspiration from my travels and existing landscape — iconography and familiar forms. Whenever I travel I document the landscape, sketching mountains and recording color palettes. On a recent trip to Arizona and Utah, I pulled over the car to collect red dirt; the color was like nothing I had seen before. That soil is now a crucial part of Collage 20.

As much as I would like to say I have an organized process, my favorite pieces usually come from a frenzy. The process is definitely a combination of planned and considered landscape memories with sparks of chaos. The best moments come when I am staring at an apartment floor full of paper I’ve dyed trying to find combinations that work.  

Each piece starts with preparation. I need a variety of paper to play with — different colors and textures. There are whole studio days where I haven’t made a piece at all,  sometimes I’m pulling away fibers from a found piece of cotton-based paper, other times I’m sitting over vats of vegetable dyes waiting to get the color I need, but this time is the most crucial. 

After experimenting for a couple of days with new paper, new dyes, or new mediums I pull all the paper out onto the floor and I organize. I’m looking for cues - a particular color that fits within the landscape I am building or a particular line that mimics a landscape from my travels.

Collage 30_detail.jpg
Collage 30.jpg

What is your favorite part of your studio practice?

The very second the raw image appears on my computer screen after scanning. This is the moment the piece comes to life. That’s the victory dance moment.

The scanning process can really make or break all the work I have done leading up to that moment. A lot of failed pieces looked great before scanning, and never make it to the next step. 

Collage 35.jpg

Tell us about your thoughts on risk taking and experimentation in your art? 

Some of my best sparks of creativity came from horrible, awful, stupid ideas. I can’t tell you how ridiculously embarrassing those ideas were in hindsight — I tried recreating a shark tunnel out of hula hoops and plastic once — seriously bad idea, or maybe just horribly executed. Or both. 

I won’t say the moments of failure are not the most frustrating, god-awful moments because they are, but I never have the breakthroughs I’m looking for without first being frustrated with where I currently am in my process.

Collage 20_detail.jpg

What are your favorite hobbies and activities outside of the studio?

If I’m not in the studio, you can probably find me curled up with a book and a cup of coffee. I try to read as much as I can in between my day job and studio time. I’m in the middle of several books on Texas botanicals right now.

I love to travel and explore new places, but there is a lot to take advantage of here in Austin well. I spend my weekends swimming at Barton Springs, hiking local trails, and stuffing my face with Tex-Mex.

Original collages_prescan.JPG

Please share a tip or piece of advice that helped you as an artist. 

“Hang in there.” Rejection is hard and it happens a lot in our line of work. It’s really important to keep your head up and keep at it. I know that is a cheesy inspirational poster; those posters wouldn’t exist if there wasn’t a little bit of truth to them.

What are you currently working on? 

I have a couple of shows coming up in the next couple of months so I am spending a lot of time preparing for those. 

I’ve also been working 3-dimensional lately; larger cylindrical paper pieces inspired by ice cores. I am really excited about them. 

Interview: Yoonshin Park 

I have been working with sculptural papers, artist books, and installation. My main media concentration is pulp, paper, and artist books. My interest in comprehensive processing of paper-making and book binding caters my work to encompass various elements woven into complete objects.

Elements involved in hand paper-making and bookbinding have been embedded into my creative process from the repetitive motion associated with the traditional paper making, to a stack of papers waiting to be folded, these components render substantial factors. 

About Tied

Tied, the title of the installation, is a phonetic pun on the rising tides and the paper pages bound by threads.

As the water rises and falls, pages of our daily experience add and subtract to and from our memory. Our daily life permeates our memory just as the ink is absorbed into each page and create new shapes and patterns onto what once was a clean slate of a blank page. 

In Tied series, I used handmade papers, pen ink, threads and fabric; materials used in book binding. Papers are cut into strips, dyed in ink and sewn together on a sheet of starched muslin. Deciding on the ingredients for the series was a conscious one. The medium or material I use more or less dictates the direction in developing my ideas. In this series, maintaining the very original function of these material was a guiding line for the progress of the series.


When did you first get involved with paper and installation work?

That would be in graduate school when I was working on my first M.A. degree. I took the introductory paper making class. During the idea developing process for the thesis exhibition, I experimented with various materials, techniques and formats. I came across half processed Kozo fiber along the way and eventually the thesis became a room size installation. 
This experience propelled me to continue my study of paper. I enrolled in another Master’s program, focusing in book and paper arts.


Your installation, “Tied” has a very meditative feel to it. Tell us about your process and what you think about when creating your work.

“Tied” indeed is a very meditative work; it reflects the paper making and bookbinding process. Handmade papers are folded and cut into specified sizes then lightly washed. Once dried, they are dyed in several shades of ink mixture one shade at a time. Dried and colored paper strips are sewn onto starched muslin fabric. 

Each process requires an endless amount of patience. Not only does each step take a long time, it is a long series of repetitive motions. The final stage of assembling the pieces for the display size is rather soothing and also meditative. The repetition of active motion and passive waiting is part of any creative process and I often take the advantage of this in between these steps. I let my mind wander and slip into daydreaming. 

What emotions do you hope the viewers experience when looking at your art?

I get truly excited when viewers ask questions: about the materials, techniques used, process, hours spent, inspiration. I like the fact that my work could pique viewer’s curiosity on my art. Questions are best evidence and I enjoy such interaction with viewers. 
Like you asked above, my works have a self-reflective quality. If the viewers can experience something similar and relate to such an experience with me, that would definitely make my exhibition much more meaningful. 


How do you prevent artistic burnout? Share a few of your favorite ways to get inspired and replenish your creativity. 

Recently, I made a resolution to take breaks with some regularity when I’m in my studio. It is so easy to stay too long in a studio without getting out. Particularly when you are working towards the completion of a project, or a deadline. I pay close attention in keeping the creative energy flow before it is completely drained. Learning a new technique or researching in different industries always helped me to refresh my brain when I feel like I am hitting an artist’s block- if you will. Meeting and engaging in a creative conversation with people in a relaxed setting always helps me regain the good vibe.


What artists and creatives inspire you?

I maintain my interest in various materials. Finding a new tool or material leads me to work on a completely different type of work by expanding my limit. it challenges my perspective on some old and familiar objects. I should have added this to the question above, but browsing through aisles of fabric stores, hardware store or toysRus can be one inspiring walk for the creative process.

These days I find so many talented artists online. The virtual art world is so accessible; many of the artists today are truly inspiring and pioneering in the field with originality and craftsmanship. However, I will say that my all time favorite artists would be Eva Hesse and Agnes Martin among many other.


Tell us about your artistic community. Are you involved in your local art scene?

Since I am living and working near where I went to school, it is easy for me to stay in the loop with my artist friends. It is so crucial to have a support group where you could share your thoughts, frustrations and anything else with the people who have witnessed your growth from a student to an artist.  

I also am a member of a couple of local and international artist organizations. 


What are you most proud and excited about in your art career so far?

I honestly can’t pick just one since the daily action of art making is an achievement; it may be small but it is incredibly valuable. For example, finding the perfect light bulb for a project, or finally figuring out how to efficiently hide the hideous cable in an installation, or it could be that I made a couple of application deadlines in timely manner!

"Asynchronist" by Alex Eckman-Lawn and Jason Chen

August 21, 2017 (Philadelphia, PA) - Paradigm Gallery + Studio is pleased to announce Asynchronist, an exhibition of new works by Alex Eckman-Lawn and Jason Chen. The presentation explores the aesthetic and conceptual connections between the artists’ practices, with a particular focus on the use of paper cut mediums to investigate the notion of separation. Several works on view were made collaboratively, a first for both artists. The exhibition is on view August 25–October 21, 2017. An opening reception will be held Friday, August 25, 2017 at 5:30pm - 10:00pm.

Calling to mind the work of Max Ernst and Joseph Cornell, this exhibition presents Eckman- Lawn’s cut paper and collage pieces that explore the artist’s fear of the body, particularly how the body physically entraps and cages the human subject. Drawing from his experience as an illustrator, he creates a visual narrative using his own distinct vocabulary of symbols and images, combining seemingly disparate images and sources.

Jason Chen will present a new series of handwoven photographs that investigates the notion of duality, interrogating the liminal space between aesthetic perspectives. Rather than a concern with patterning that typifies much of woven artwork, Chen utilizes the process of weaving to deconstruct and reconstruct the photographic image.

What If , Jason Chen, 2017

What If, Jason Chen, 2017

About Alex Eckman-Lawn

Alex Eckman-Lawn creates multi-layered, hand-cut, paper collages using everything from his original digital paintings to imagery from old medical texts. Each layer is spaced, creating a depth that draws you into the works. His work has appeared in comic books, on album covers, book covers, T-shirts, music videos, and posters. His cut paper works have most recently been on display at SCOPE Miami Beach, Art on Paper NY, Paradigm Gallery + Studio, Arch Enemy Arts, Art Dept., Gallery 1988, Crane Arts Ice Box, Bottleneck Gallery, and more. Eckman-Lawn received his BFA in Illustration from the University of the Arts in 2007, and is a Philadelphia native.

Hollow, Jason Chen and Alex Eckman-Lawn, 2017. Layered cut paper/collage/woven photo. 16.75 x 12.75 inches. Courtesy Paradigm Gallery + Studio. 

Hollow, Jason Chen and Alex Eckman-Lawn, 2017. Layered cut paper/collage/woven photo. 16.75 x 12.75 inches. Courtesy Paradigm Gallery + Studio. 

About Jason Chen

Jason Chen is originally from Guangzhou, China. He received his BFA in Animation from the University of Arts in 2008. Jason is a Philadelphia based Photographer specializing in Fashion, Editorial, and Alternative Process Photography. He is the Co-Founder of Paradigm Gallery + Studio and Juggling Wolf (a film and animation production studio). Jason’s work has been displayed in galleries and venues including: Paradigm Gallery + Studio, Crane Arts, The Light Room Gallery, Trust Gallery, Kimmel Center, and Commerce Square.

About Paradigm Gallery + Studio

Established February 2010, Paradigm Gallery + Studio® started as a project between co- founders and curators, Jason Chen and Sara McCorriston, to create a space in which to make artwork, to exhibit the work of their peers, and to invite the members of the local community make their own artwork in a welcoming gallery setting. Over the years, Paradigm Gallery + Studio has become a gallery of diverse contemporary artwork from around the world, but still with a focus on Philadelphia artists.

Paradigm Gallery + Studio provides an artistic space for both the visual and performing arts, with a focus on dedicated, emerging to established Philadelphia-based visual artists. We provide artists with individualized attention, strong promotional support and a transformable gallery space to make their own. We strive to make art accessible to the whole community through free bi-weekly events and support work that welcomes a wide audience.

Michele Tremblay

My art has a mission: to delight and surprise.

My paper sculptures are informed by my intimate knowledge of flowers gained by working with fresh flowers for over 30 years. 

Their moods and unique energy are the source of my endless fascination and inspiration. The gesture of a petal, a hint of color, the direction of a shadow--the unpredictable way these elements play together make my pieces an adventure to construct and visually intoxicating to view. 

The materials are common--paper, glue, paint, and pins--but I like to think that the way I use them gives a surprising and new way to look at common desk supplies. 

This is where dreams are made; this is my Delightful Mission.

Interview: Mira Sestan

Mira Sestan is a New York based paper artist. Her meticulous paper compositions resemble nature’s beautiful patterns. She only uses two colors, black and white, as that’s often how she sees the world. Each of her pieces is cut and assembled by hand and layered on top of one another. Due to its detailed nature, her work takes months to produce and creating it becomes a meditative process.

What draws you to a black and white color palette?

Black is my favorite color. I like the limitation that working with two colors imposes. It forces me to consider other methods to add depth - whether that’s through texture, the size of elements or thinking about the way light hits them - in a way to make things more interesting. If I had an entire color wheel to work with, I would never be able to narrow things down. I also like the contrast that you get from having only two colors to work with. Not to say that I won’t explore more colors in the future, but at the moment I’m into a minimalist palette. Less is more.

Where did you initially get inspiration for your current series?

I had originally started with a piece that was a field of white flowers (white wedding). There’s something beautiful in the creation of a flower, every petal is unique and organic - and was pleased how it turned out. So I started wondering what could complement it. Before that piece, my work was primarily 2D collage (with a lot of colors!). It was largely dependent on how photography was used. I found that to be very limiting - and from that - I realized that the next step was the creation of something from nothing. Pieces that were a pure expression of my own ideas, rather than a re-framing of someone else’s. 

With each piece, the outcome started to feel more unique and gave me the confidence to continue. There was no one moment or point of reference that inspired me. Rather, a series of small steps - one after the other - which led me to explore further. I truly believe in the importance of developing faith in your artistic intuition and following it wherever it may lead you. It’s something I’m trying to get better at every day. 

What does your creative process look like? 

It first starts with an image. Perhaps it’s a texture I saw at a store, or when I’m out in nature. It could be a sci-fi film or an image on Instagram. I ruminate on it for weeks. Usually, during that time I’ll see two or three concepts that are in some way connected to it, and from there I development a better sense of how to approach the piece. I use Pinterest to then organize similar elements into boards. This I find to be the most fun part of the process, where I let my imagination run wild and think of all the possibilities. 

From there, I summon the courage to test out some of the ideas. Some of them work, and I continue, but most often than not, that idea I have in mind does not unfold as expected, and ultimately it is put to one side. During that process, I’ll often end up with a concept quite different than the original idea, and I then have to trust the pursuit of that idea. Even the ideas that don’t make it serve as great material for future endeavors. Never consider an abandoned idea to be a waste of time.

Why did you start working with cut paper?

I took a collage class several years ago, to satisfy my creativity outside of work as Graphic Designer. I really loved how easy it was working with paper. Looking back, I realize the biggest influence on me getting into this medium was a show at the Museum of Design called “Slash: Paper Under the Knife”. Until that point, I was playing with collage and 2D, but after seeing so many incredible pieces of work there, as well as the truly innovative ways they used paper - methods I didn’t know were possible up until that point - I knew I wanted to push things further. Since then, I’ve slowly been developing my skills and honing new techniques. The up-side to working with paper? It's cheap and lightweight. You don’t need a pricey studio space, and it’s not overly messy as a material. The worst thing than can happen while working with it - a paper cut.

You say on your website that your work takes months to create, do you typically work on more than one piece at a time? 

More often than not, I work on one or two things at the same time. At some point in the creative process, things get repetitive, and I need something on the side to turn my attention to when my focus starts to wane. As detailed as the work is, it can also be quite meditative when you’re focused on small, simple details. It is many of those small details that result in the bigger piece.

What is your favorite part of the process you use to create your work? 

I love starting on new ideas, gathering inspiration, sketching, and dreaming of all the possibilities. I also love working on the details once the idea is nailed down. Each piece is time-consuming since it is the detail and complexity that shapes the outcome, but I get a lot of pleasure of seeing the work come to life slowly. It is fulfilling to dedicate time - not minutes, hours, or days, but weeks or months - to develop that initial seed of an idea, to the end result. In some ways, much like watching a flower bloom.

Interview: Linden Eller

Born in 1984, Linden spent her youth in the urban Sonoran desert of Phoenix, Arizona before moving to Southern California to obtain her BA in Studio Art. She’s since lived and worked out of New England, Europe, India, Australia, Samoa, New Zealand, and currently Japan. 

This primary interest in place and self-archival attracted her to the collage medium. Using a combination of found fragments and personal elements, she composes floating abstract shapes sewn together with thread on paper. Her work centers around themes of memory, its process, and the layers of small alterations which happen each time something is recollected. She also aims to communicate the melancholy in unresolved matters, like her brother’s autism, or natural losses. 

Choosing a distinctly pale colour palette together with the use of tracing paper, her pieces attempt to replicate the quiet hazy environment from which a memory is recalled. Blending autobiographical narratives with larger collective subjects such as childhood, longing, and home, Linden thinks of her collages as field recordings from the mind. 

Linden’s work has been mentioned online in Frankie & Yen magazines and been included in numerous publications such as Inside Artists, Making The Cut Vol. 1, Thistle Magazine, Art Ascent, and Lynda Hallinan’s book Jam Sessions. Recent residencies include Tiapapata Art Centre (Samoa), Cowwarr Art Space (Australia), and Tenjinyama Art Studio (Japan).

How does using collage as your medium play into the ideas you try to get across in your art?

Collage is the perfect medium for memory themes as they naturally parallel each other in many ways.  My work isn't just about my own narrative - and thanks to the medium I am using both personal and random components to try and communicate a more collective perspective. These scraps and pieces themselves hold an entire history of their own.  Then altering those pieces and layering them in fragments, I'm able to mimic the actual process of remembering - an incredibly inaccurate, shifting, and multifaceted act. 

When did you decide on the color palette you are currently working in? 

I've never really made a conscious decision as it seems like my colors chose me rather than the other way around.  My palette has always been intuitive and hasn't changed much in the past eight years.  I'm typically inspired by soft pale brights but am beginning to add in some more bold elements when I feel bored with my own color habits!

What is the first thing you do when you sit down to create a collage? 

I start with one piece I'm really excited about and start connecting things from there.  My process is quite subconscious/ instinctive and since this can be difficult to pause, it's not uncommon for me to finish a work in one sitting.

Is there anyone in particular who inspires your work? 

So many!  I'm largely inspired by the abstract expressionist painters of the 40's and 50's as well as many contemporary artists of a similar genre - at the moment Sarah Kelk, Bonnie Grey, and Sander Steins.

You mention your color palette has a lot to do with the idea of memory and the haziness of memory. Are there other aspects of your collages that play with the same ideas?

Definitely.  Building up layers of transparency also help achieve this notion of haziness.  The tracing paper elements act as faders, almost like partially erasing, or forgetting something.  

Monica De Mitri

Observing art from the point of view of the artist, today we find always less its functional and evident role declared in the form of specific activity, filtering from this highly cultural category according which he has traditionally declined to do. Artists dedicated to forms of painting, sculpture, installation seem to put always more often their art outside of definable schemes, like activities that seem to us more accessible and near to be their outcome of an attitude of adhesion and integration to a sort of daily existence. Monica De Mitri belongs to this attendance of somewhat ‘familiarity’ of art, with an approachable access and customary substantial knowledge. As an artist who with clear critical vision of the historical anthropological conditions of the present she doesn’t pretend to make herself a bearer of higher values, of higher themes of revolutionary ideals or of a central redemption of the artistic ability, she considers it rather as an integrated activity between the others that connote her feelings, her attitudes, her way of being and daily life, in relation to which she makes comprehensìble, with which she maintains the most vital contacts and acquires her particular and specific character. Interests which stem from her artistic training, the activity in the world of fashion, in scenography and as choreographic costumist, show also the fundamental components and multiple characters of an art which is born from her life, which follows her inclinations, which adheres to a perfectly fitting existence and for this is difficult to classify and escapes traditional distinction. Her work is not painting nor sculpture nor object nor installation in the true sense; from time to time these categories could be presented as possibilities or potentialities of her work, prevailing one or the other; deriving not only from the total separation, from filters of a traditionally artistic culture but directly from the idea of a minute, patient work, almost excellence and researched manufacture, on its own made of apparently simple statement, sometimes even conceptually minimal and mentally concentrated in an essential gesture almost Zen-like. A work which clearly demonstrates the process and explicitly declares it; a creation of colour, of ink but also of scissors, glue, paper simply painted or adorned with paper ribbons or with glued on gauze, with overlaid foil or gold leaf and drops of glass or fragments of colored crystal redeeming the simplicity of these materials and mimicking fabric or evoking decorative elements, finishing touches, jewels of far ethnic echoes, fashion world but all on a grand scale, transparent paper fragments tied together ceiling to make scenographic wings or the large strips which support long plaited cascades of little together with fine metal wire. found in fashion archeology, but when for example fragments of or with motives of squares in ascending supremacy or like monochrome tables composed according to the geometry of abstract and constructive memory but altogether having an air temporary and contingency. This work itself a small discovery, a twig, a metallic shred, a drop of crystal to make a sort of precious relic, or together create a support for elements hung or stuck to each other interchanging roles becoming now elements binding now supporting the work. They are gestures which implicate other gestures, in fact, they derive from it, are a consequence of it so that the final work is only a part of it, phases of a longer process which has moments before the creation and successive reoccurrences. It’s as if the artist wants us to perceive the fine pleasure of her initial searching, finding, assembly, conservation, custody and wants then wants to give a time and a place to that which is temporary and ephemeral, to that which has been discarded and recovered.... transformed in the urgency of halting and defìning each thin and small emotion sensitive also to materials of little value of her discovery. From these therefore attentive to inclinations to reveal and fix upon a hidden beauty maintaining all the while the sense of a dynamic contingent above all in those of paper hung as provisionally leaning against the wall or in those areas and almost precarious compositions of fragments of painting or in the free and potentially changeable composition of the broken tables that seem to find only momentary equilibrium, held together by unifying elements of wires which run the length and descend from above as if accidentally hung or like those small fragments of cut paper recomposed on the surface, almost ready to change configuration or scatter with every breeze. In every work where the idea of composition, of the centrality of geometric order seems to sub-enter, a sort of inclination or better still constructive evocation, this is contradicted by the style, by the way, it’s done. Even the memory the ascent taken from the various stylistic temperatures brought into play, appears more as a retro suggestion, dictated by the materials found always different. It is the latter which creates fine, sensitive emotions, suggesting their way of being using from within each single work determining the morphology its peculiar character. The things have a soul which seems to have been suggested by De Mitri, the artist is only an instrument which allows it to emerge. That which pauses between a sort of sentiment of the material and like a deep thought, that of a diffused aesthetic which rediscovers even in the tiniest and apparent negligible things that surround us. Her works stimulate our capacity of trying the sensuality of the materials almost through a tactile as well as a vision of a more sensitive affinity and in keeping with a perception of the finest shades. All this reflects in works in which the sense of ‘precious’ and ‘poor’ co-exist, the ‘high’ and the ‘low’ live together in evocation and go from the present, from the flavour of things to the re-interpretation of painting methods which from time to time the opera suggests: perhaps an informal abstraction, pictorial sign automatism, minimalist geometry, stylistic numbers fully re-lived as material objects. And so becomes a sign, painting that becomes a thing; at the end the work moves within to this dialectal ambiguity so much as to say that the things themselves or better the fragments of things are presented as stylistic motifs and suggesting the shape of the work. A sort or ready-made artistic, a sort of discovered art, implicit within the materials and their natural or artificial form, the artist supports it according to a sensitive thought in which the interference, the inter-relations, the contaminations of culture and nature, fashion and memory temporary or permanent, casual and intentional are intertwined as fact in her works, their warp and weft.