For this "Like Minds" blog post I chose to highlight five artists with a shared love of paper. Each of these five make art that reflects different backgrounds and ideas, each bringing a different narrative alive through this chosen medium. Their work challenges the mind to think past paper as merely a surface. Although delicate, it demands attention as both a two and three-dimensional medium.
I appreciate how much craftsmanship and time working with paper requires. The skill of these artists truly speaks through their creations. As I got to know their work, I couldn’t help but notice the relationships between surfaces, intricate textures, and sense of space that make paper-work so singular.
Fellow Oakland-based artist, Joel Daniel Philips, draws large-scale charcoal and graphit portraits so realistic they seem tangible. In reference to his work, he writes, "A true portrait is far more than a rendering of physical form—it is the capturing of the vulnerable, un-invented narratives that make us human."
To create these monumental drawings, he pulls from interactions with individuals on the corner of 6th and Mission, right outside his first apartment in the Bay Area. Joel's ongoing series 'No Regrets in Life' explores the process of translating people and their nuances onto the paper on a 1-1 scale. His goal is to understand and acknowledge the often overlooked life and beauty in people.
Normally, I’m not drawn to artists who draw from photographs. The end product oftentimes feels flat, distant, even a little cold. Joel’s work, however, has warmth and life, texture and detail, and a realism that just isn’t found elsewhere. He takes time to express the relationships with his subjects through an intense practice (he spends roughly ten hours a day drawing,) and this attention shines through his work.
Mark Johnsen is an SF-based printmaker that creates monotypes inspired by the natural textures of the California landscape. His works transcend the humble paper surface to become precious objects, prompted by nature.
Mark's 'rock' installations are an intriguing play between 2D and 3D space: each flat print seems to be an optical illusion of a round object. Floating off the wall in organized-yet-organic arrangements, each piece alludes to geological characteristics. As a viewer, I find myself drawn into the textures and lines of his prints.
Emily Proud, also based in SF, is a watercolor artist that creates minimal atmospheric paintings. Her work calls to mind minimalism (see James Turrell), color theory (see Josef Albers), and abstract expressionism (see Mark Rothko).
Emily is process-driven; with each piece she explores the traits of her medium and the process of freely shaping watercolor into ludic geometric shapes through brush stroke lines, depth, and color. I love how she wields negative space to create uncomplicated, but thoughtful pieces.
Andrew Benincasa is a papercut artist who lives and works in Brooklyn. A skilled craftsman, he forms intricate shapes from simple paper materials to create beautifully innovative narratives.
Andrew's papercuts are theatrical, yet deeply human; they speak to the relationships we build with each other and with the world around us. Darkly imaginative compositions and intricate layers of storytelling characterize his work. I like the sense of light he cultivates in each - whether through rendering or from the light source behind the paper.
The stop-motion music video he created for song "The God Of Loss" by Darlingside is my favorite of his pieces. Andrew's paired technical and conceptual skills create a gorgeous folktale of growth, sadness, and love.
I discovered our fifth artist through a great recommendation on a previous "Like Minds" post. (Thanks guys, keep 'em coming!) Emily Moore's work cultivates a defined sense of space in her collage-style pieces, utilizing texture and color, architecture and landscape.
Emily crafts compelling relationships between styles. Diebenkorn comes to mind when looking at her work due to the way she expresses perspective and open space. Yet the cluster of texture and the flat use of paper evokes the traditional printmaking style of Ukiyo-e.
I love the juxtaposition of hard geometric lines with more abstract landscapes she uses to create a sense perspective and a defined feeling of place.
Do you have an artist or designer that would fit this new blog series? We'd love to hear from you! Please share in a comment below.
This post was a team effort. The content was curated and written by Heather Day and Hannah P. Mode. Edited by Katherine Holthouser. All opinions are my own. Please contact me or the featured artists for permission to use content on this site.