If people were to write down the top 5 things that come to their mind when they think of paper, the list might look something like this: white, money, pen/pencil, drawing, and writing.
Words like cool, amazing, or interesting would probably not make the list. Paper, it seems, has been overshadowed by the digital world. As we are becoming more and more “social,” it’s clear that we feel the need to keep in contact with our friends and family, but no one writes letters anymore and the only mail we ever see in the mailbox are either bills or junkmail. Even the bill senders are opting to be more green, giving the option to have statements sent over by email rather than paper. Magazines, newspapers, and books are now rivaled with e-zines, e-newsletters, and e-books. So, in which realm does paper still stand a chance? Of course, in its own: paper art.
Using paper as a medium for art isn’t anything new. Paper cutting, folding, and quilling are just a few examples of paper art that have been around for centuries (Wikipedia, mypaperquilling.com). Each technique requires so much time and dedication which definitely shines through in each finished piece. The intricacy of these pieces is incredible, and it makes you wonder how anyone can possibly have that much patience in them. While it is true that many amazing things can come from digital media (digital painting, data analysis visualization, etc.), paper art techniques yield finished products that are tangible. There is no printing that still needs to be done, no saving on your desktop that needs to be remembered, no fear that the whole file may be erased in the blink of an eye overnight. There is something about being free of those worries that makes traditional art special. It is amazing to see what humans are capable of, equipped with passion and their bare hands. Here is a selection of incredible paper art pieces from even more incredible artists.
Karen M. O’Leary