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06
16
2 Comments

The Kindest Cut of All: Owen Gildersleeve’s

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Owen Gildersleeve’s  Paper Cuts:

The Wonderful World of Papercraft Art

Okay. We are going deep into the strange and wonderful world of paper geeks today, readers. But the deeper you go, the better it gets. It takes one to know one.  Owen Gildersleeve is a designer, papercraft illustrator, and set maker in London. He recently authored and designed Paper Cut, An Exploration into the Contemporary World of Papercraft Art and Illustration for Rockport Publishers. I had the pleasure of working with him on this beautiful book. When I first approached him to write the book, he was very reluctant and declined. However, about week later, he contacted me and decided to do it.

PaperCut_coverl

“At first it all seemed quite daunting. I’d never undertaken a project of this length and depth before, and so in truth I was quite nervous about whether I’d be able to pull it off. But having talked with a couple of my family members and close friends, I realized that it was an opportunity that I really couldn’t miss out on. It’s not everyday that you get asked by a world-renowned publisher to write a book about your practice. So I decided to give it a go, and am really glad that I took everyone’s advice,” he recalls.

Yulia Brodskaya uses a technique called quilling to create her elaborate, colorful paper illustrations.

Yulia Brodskaya uses a technique called quilling to create her elaborate, colorful paper illustrations.

Gildersleeve’s first task was finding and approaching other papercraft illustrators to feature. Because it’s not a huge community compared to graphic designers, most paper crafters are aware of one another, and sometimes compete for the same jobs. Gildersleeve notes, “In general we all have our own styles and approach, so if a client wants a certain feel for a particular job, then they’ll pick out the relevant artist. It’s no different really than traditional pen and ink illustration, or collage. Everyone has their own approach that makes their work unique, and this is what I wanted to explore in my book.”

helen

Illustrator Helen Friel is known for her pop-up works. She says, “I’m not very good with the hit-and-miss
nature of painting and drawing, whereas with paper, you can keep evolving
the work until it’s exactly as you want it.”

The book features the work of 25 contemporary papercraft illustrators, all with their own unique styles. As Gildersleeve researched artists for the book, he ended up with a long list of artists, which he had to narrow down. “There are so many talented people now working in this field. A small group of the artists I knew before writing the book, either through my work and various exhibitions I’ve been part of, or from my time studying. In fact Martin Andersen of Andersen M Studio was my tutor whilst I studied at the University of Brighton,” he explains. “But I also wanted to delve out of my comfort zone for the book, and include artists who I greatly respected but had never been in contact with before. This was really exciting for me as a lot of these artists I’d always wanted to contact in the past, but had never found a good enough reason to until now.”

Lobolu

Inspired by insect anatomies, artist Lobolu (aka Javier Rodriguez Garcia) created the pieces on the left
for a personal project. On the right, you see how he created his 3D illustration for Anchor Butter Co.

An accomplished papercraft artist himself, I wondered if Gildersleeve felt slighted since his own work was only featured on a few pages in the back of the book. “When I started putting the book together, I did contemplate giving myself a full chapter like the other artists, but it seemed a bit unnecessary to give myself any extra attention,” he explains. “After all, my name is on the cover and I did get to design, curate, and write it. That seems like enough of a showcase for me.”

Since Gildersleeve didn’t give himself a full chapter in the book, I wanted to show a recent project of his here, to demonstrate his paper crafting talents. This ad for Finnish coffee company, Paulig, was a collaboration between Gildersleeve and artist Janine Rewell. “It was a really fun project to work on, and although it was unusual for me to be working with someone else’s imagery, I really enjoyed the challenge of trying to work out how to turn her beautiful image into a large paper set.”

Paulig project

Paulig says, “For the shoot I was flown out to Helsinki and got to spend 4 days out there – A really lovely city. I was lucky enough to work with the fantastic photographer Kimmo Virtanen, who shot the and retouched the images. He’s done a brilliant job and I can’t wait to soon share them with everyone.”

Gildersleeve is currently preparing an exhibition for the book to be held at The Proud Archivist Gallery in East London in September, which will show the work of all 25 artists featured in the book, along with prints and a selection of original paper artworks. During the exhibition there will also be lectures and workshops from the artists, as well as film nights and live music events.

Makerie

These intricate paper sculptures were created by Julie Wilkinson and Joyanna Horscroft of The Makerie.

 

Hey?! What’s the Big Idea?!!

Paper is cool, that’s the big idea. Paper is a tangible artifact. It is a craft. It is a media and a substrate. It is the material of art and it is art. To read about the projects pictured above and see exciting new projects by other paper illustrators, you can purchase Paper Cut here.

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  1. 06
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    2:23pm
    Matt Porter said:

    This work is astonishing to me. I cannot even wrap a darn Christmas gift without making a mess. I don’t think I have ever cut a straight line, much less a figure eight curve. Wow!

  2. 06
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    23
    12:34pm

    […] We are going deep into the strange and wonderful world of paper geeks today, readers. But the deeper you go, the better it gets. It takes one to know one.  Owen Gildersleeve is a designer, papercraft illustrator, and set maker in London. He recently authored and designed Paper Cut, An Exploration into the Contemporary World of Papercraft Art and Illustration for Rockport Publishers. I had the pleasure of working with him on this beautiful book. When I first approached him to write the book, he was very reluctant and declined. However, about week later, he contacted me and decided to do it. …. read the rest of the article here. […]