I am a writer, but I dabble in art. I started in art because I wanted to write comics. I know, it doesn’t make sense, but I loved comics since I was young and once I grew old enough to purchase the comics stores keep sealed in plastic sleeves, forbidden unless you’re 18 years old, I discovered the arresting storytelling of darker comics. Then later still, I found web comics – so funny and honest and all about people just like me or interests that I loved. So I taught myself how to build a website and some basic but passable coding so that I could learn to draw so that I could learn to write web comics.
I don’t do anything simply. But at the time I didn’t know anyone who could build web sites or draw so I had to learn to do them myself if I wanted to write comics. Eventually I took up a job during college in an art store so I could get a discount to replace all the art supplies I was ruining through self-teaching. All this so I could tell stories.
It’s all I ever wanted to do.
But going the long way around meant I picked up a thing or two about art and I learned that I couldn’t love art that didn’t tell a story. Funny that, but abstract expressionism and a lot of post-modernism is totally and completely lost on me. Jackson Pollock baffles me. But I love art that tells a story and better still when it brings story – quite literally – to life, which is how I found papercrafting and taught myself that, too, all in pursuit of storytelling.
I would have saved myself a lot of time and effort if someone would have just shoved a damn pen and notebook in my hand and said, “Here, write something already,” but no, I had to find my way the long way around in order to end up at the beginning.
I’m not good, but I love it. My art is flawed and I am no real artist, which is fine because as I said in the beginning, I started doing art because I wanted to write stories. When writing becomes impossible and I get all mentally blocked up, one of my pressure release valves is labeled “papercraft” and another “watercolor” and a third “acrylic” though that one gets released less often than the others because it is such a bother to get out all the supplies and my husband complains I’ve taken over the entire dining room table and I come to bed smelling like tube paint and gesso.
Papercraft to me is an achingly gorgeous melting of story and art because what you create is so close to alive, as if by holding your breath you might step into it. Masters of papercraft are something closer to architects, mathematicians, and scientists than they are artists because of the engineering that must go into the formation.
Not entirely unlike the need for outlines in order to create structurally sound novels.
These are some of the masters I turn to for inspiration. I’ve included a sample or two for each but I urge you to click through to their gallery webpages for their full body of work.
Thanks everyone. I wish you all good inspirations and a happy Thursday.
(My favorite artist.)
(My favorite piece of papercraft in the whole world. I want to live in his paper world.)
Annie Vought (Beautiful papercut letters)
Eric Joisel (Master of Origami, check out the Commedia dell’ Arte)
Ingrid Siliakus (I can’t even wrap my brain around her beautiful and immense papercraft projects)
Brian Dettmer (weird but neat book sculptures)