Published Artwork

I will be writing blog posts in the coming months to make up for the year that I failed to document due to teaching a packed college class schedule in the fall, and sickness in the spring. It was a challenge to do anything more than what was required of me! I look forward to sharing with the world what my students were capable of accomplishing this past school year.

During Fall 2014, I was contacted by a publisher in China called DesignerBooks about the possibility of being included in a paper arts book. After much emailing back and forth, it became a reality. On July 23, 2015 I received an email that my work was officially included and was sent a copy of the published book a couple months later.

My chosen paper art from undergraduate and graduate school was featured in four full spreads with detailed descriptions of my idea and creation process.

It is a beautifully designed book, and I am proud to be included with many of my paper art heroes throughout the world.

Title: Paradise of Paper Art 2: The World of Dance Paper
Dimensions: 1.4 x 8.3 x 11.2 inches
Pages: 400
Color: four-color printing
Paper: Matte paper
Binding: Paperback
Language: English
ISBN-13: 9789881378217
Shipping Weight: 2.3kg (5.1 pounds)

At the moment, it’s available on the Australian book website Booktopia and other Chinese vendors, including DesignerBooks.

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The book

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Book jacket with laser-cut holes & the front cover

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Table of Contents & Biographies (see my ice cream cones on right page)

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Cloud Gazing spread 1

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Cloud Gazing spread 2

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Summer’s Day Treat & Jacks

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Eldritch Forest typeface promotional mailer undergrad project

All of these projects are featured on my portfolio website, brittanyspencer.com.

It’s amazing how the Internet makes our world so much smaller and offers connections we would not make otherwise. I’m grateful that a DesignerBooks representative found my website and offered me this opportunity!

Transportation Set

I have many ideas for art pieces that are gender neutral, and some that will apply more specifically to girls’ childhood.  I felt I needed something that guys could relate to.  My younger brothers had SO MANY toy cars, trucks, helicopters, etc., and I imagine other boys did, too.  I used three transportation pieces for a gift and felt they turned out so well, I could make my own for my thesis work.  I found a race car and airplane to add to my set.

I drew off with pencil how I wanted to apply the pulp.

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Here they are dried!  I used a bit more pigment than usual to see if that helped the color from dulling as it dried.  It was a bit messier to do since the pulp didn’t want to soak up all the pigment, but it did make a big difference!

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UPDATE:  After I got back from Christmas break, I went back with acrylic paint in the areas that I couldn’t apply paper pulp.  I also added in some tiny details.

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Bailee has it rough being my studio helper 🙂

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I hope everyone has a restful, fun and turkey-filled Thanksgiving!

UPDATE:  Exciting new additions to this piece to turn it into a wall hanging will come later this school year!  Stay tuned…

3D Jacks

My second 3D paper-casting ambition…..jacks!  I made this set larger than they actually are, for aesthetic and capability purposes.

Since styrofoam worked so well for my ice cream cones before, I used it again for this project.  I also bought some tiny wooden sticks, thread, and Gorilla glue.

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I chiseled the bare wooden ends with an x-acto knife.

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I used Spray Mount Adhesive on the structure to help the pulp stick.  I drained a good bit of water out of the pulp, pressed it onto the structure, and used paper towels to press out even more moisture to help the fibers set.  Here is my small set when wet:

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It’s crazy the difference of pulp color between wet and dry!

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And here is the full set!  The photo’s color doesn’t look quite right, but you get the idea.  I’ll have a better photo for my portfolio website soon.

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Not only are they larger than actual jacks, but so lightweight!  It’s a strange sensation to pick them up!

My First 3D Paper Forms

A goal for my final year of graduate school work is to pursue 3D forms along with my 2D forms.  Paper casting is pressing blended pulp onto a mold that will dry and take its shape.  Paper sculpting is the art of folding or bending sheets of paper into a shape.  For my first 3D piece, I needed to use both methods.

What child hasn’t experienced their tasty ice cream cone falling to the ground?  It’s such a sad disappointment!  Don’t us adults wish that our problems were as simple as ruined ice cream cones?

For my molds, I found cone-shaped floral foams for the cones and a tiny mesh colander for the ice cream scoops.  I blended vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, cherry, and waffle cone pulp colors.

IMG_1112To make the ice cream scoops, I pressed pulp on the inside and around the outer edge of the tiny colander.

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IMG_1115The pieces dried separately…

IMG_1124…and I placed them together and added pulp into the crease to make it appear as one form.

IMG_1125I made the waffle cone sheets, but felt they needed the waffle cone pattern.  With a metal ruler and bone folder, I simulated the crease marks.

IMG_1132IMG_1133Next I used spray mount and wrapped the sheets around the cone molds.  To secure the sheets while they dried overnight, I added rubber bands.

IMG_1136Then with the “strawberry pulp”, I added a spill effect to the scoop paper form.

IMG_1139Next I worked on the cherry.  The cherry ball is essentially balled up pulp, and I pressed pulp around a thin wire for the stem.  The wire extended through the cherry so I could poke it through the chocolate scoop to hold it together.

IMG_1140I added some strawberry drips, and took it to show my directed study professor, Nicole Duet.  We agreed the strawberry cone was much more lifelike, and the chocolate/vanilla was too “perfect”.  Kids’ ice cream cones aren’t perfect….they’re deliciously messy!  Also, the cherry colors weren’t “cherry” enough once the pulp dried, so she suggested painting them with watered-down red and brown acrylic paint.

IMG_1142TA-DA!

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IMG_1222My next 3D project….the game “jacks”!

 

Inspiration

As an artist making new work, it’s good to research what other people are doing in the world to know what is possible, and inspire new ideas.  I’ve been looking into papermakers, paper casting artists, designers, typographers, illustrators, and installation artists to fuel my brain for what’s to come with my work.  I’ll provide some imagery and a brief statement of my favorites and why I think they rock.

PAPERMAKERS

* Shannon Brock – personal website not found

Not Home for the Holdidays2“Not Home for the Holidays”, 2007, 26″ x 26″

Shannon is an American artist.  I love that the entirety of her work is layered effects of paper pulp, alone, called pulp painting.  Isn’t it beautiful?  I was immediately drawn to the imagery, but when I read her artist statement, I understood why there was such a kinship that I felt with her work.

Shannon’s artist statement:

Much of my work has been influenced by both my family members and my childhood experiences growing up on a small farm in eastern Missouri. This series, titled Family Album, is one I started in 2007.

Family has always been an extremely important part of my life. My family members relationships with one another, the people we became, the choices we made and our expectations of each other, provide me with much of my subject matter. As a small child it was exciting growing up on a farm. We had a front yard full of dandelions. They were flowers to me when I was young, but as a teenager it was embarrassing to know that what we had was really a yard full of weeds. Now, as an adult living in New York City for the past 14 years, I can see those dandelions as flowers again. My early life on the farm is something I value and is important to who I am today. I have begun to look back at those earlier feelings of being a farm kid and the parts of our life style that made me happy and at other times embarrassed. Using images from the rural and economically depressed surroundings of my youth, I try to capture the beauty of the people and places. Dandelions in my front yard were once a source of embarrassment but are now a source of reassurance and sense of home.”

With my work, I am also trying to remember what characterizes and captivates a child’s imagination, and in turn illustrating such memories and events to remind “grown-ups” what they’ve lost since becoming adults.  I love the line “We had a front yard full of dandelions. They were flowers to me when I was young, but as a teenager it was embarrassing to know that what we had was really a yard full of weeds. Now, as an adult living in New York City for the past 14 years, I can see those dandelions as flowers again.”  That is exactly what I’m trying to say with my work.

*Miriam Londono http://www.miriamlondono.com/

1-7--colombo--medellin_works“Stories of Immigrants”, 500 cms x 155 cms, Paper, 2007

Miriam is a German artist that writes and draws with paper pulp in squeeze bottles on a flat surface, allows it dry, carefully peels it away, then hangs them up as beautiful installations.

I have already tried this technique after seeing her work, and I was very pleased with the results.  It’s an interesting alternative to simply laser-cutting paper imagery.  I am most interested in this process and the different ways it can be incorporated.

*Denise Fleminghttp://www.denisefleming.com/

DF42American papermaker Denise is a children’s book author and illustrator.  Her illustrations are made entirely of colored pulp, which she works into layers with the use of stencils.  The imagery is very colorful, and the texture seems to jump off the page.  I respect her for her time-consuming process, and that she also has full control of the book’s appearance as she writes the story, as well.

PAPER CASTING ARTISTS

*Allen & Patty Eckman – http://eckmanfineart.com/

Love-of-a-MotherAllen and Patty are an American married couple who have invented a painstaking paper casting process called “The Eckman Method”.  The image above was created with individual paper castings that were molded by different silicone molds, and adhered together to make a complex piece.  Every image I see, my mouth drops open with amazement.  Their work revolves around Cherokee culture, inspired by Allen’s ancestry.  So their work’s theme has nothing to do with what I seek to do, but OH MY GOSH, LOOK AT THAT CRAFTSMANSHIP.  They are THE paper casting masters.

*Julia Anne Goodmanhttp://www.jagoodman.com

Screen Shot 2013-09-30 at 1.58.29 AM20_julia022-copy-221_136dayslaterdetail30_web130129goodman-11036Julia Anne is quite a find in the area of paper casting.  She is an American artist with many versions of how she treats paper casted work, both in 2-D and 3-D forms.  I had to post an example of each method she uses.  As I am least familiar with paper casting, and am taking a Directed Study on this technique, I know her website will be an inspiration I will return to again and again.

*Kerri Cushmanhttp://kerricushman.com

birdsimroulette1_510butterbutt3_510Kerri is an American artist known for her sculptural artist books, handmade paper, and letterpress pieces.  Her blueberry pie piece was the first paper casted work I found that didn’t look like a 2-year-old did it.  The “blueberries” are actually denim cast-paper eggs!  So smart.  Both of these pieces are considered books, as you can read text from inside the blueberries, and on the slices of butter.  If I can make 3-D forms as beautiful as this before this school year is up, I’d say my year was a success.

*Matthew Sporzynskihttp://mcardboard.tumblr.com/

0505_frontis_cooking0405_frontis_cooking0905_frontis_cooking1005_frontis_cookingOkay….so Matthew isn’t a paper caster, but his paper sculpture is so deliciously 3-D, it makes the most sense for him to be categorized as such.  You can find his work on the opening section pages of Real Simple magazine.  He uses a range of techniques including papier-mache, silhouette cutting, origami-style paper folding, and collage.  So I’m thinking if paper casting fails me this quarter (and I am a bit scared of it), then this method of paper sculpting may turn out to be successful for me.  Just looking at his forms make me excited!

Matthew states:

“You have to keep working on them until they don’t look like garbage anymore!” and admits that his sculptures are “far better received than I perceive them myself. I see the flaws.”

ILLUSTRATORS

*Helen Musselwhite http://www.helenmusselwhite.co.uk/

BEAUTIES-WOODLAND

This British lady is the queen of the xacto knife.  As most of her imagery is inspired by what’s seen on the countryside, I am completely in love.  Her craftsmanship blows me away.  I hope to own one of her pieces someday.  She is also a graphic designer.

*Stuart McLachlan – http://stuart-mclachlan.com

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Australian illustrator Stuart is a man that has his fingers in many pies, creating and displaying his cut paper from editorials to fashion catwalks.  I find his work similar to Helen Musselwhite’s in theme and craftsmanship.  I want to figure out how he lights up his work so beautifully, when it is all made up of white paper.

Stuart quotes:

“Paper is a medium without boundaries, it can be molded, formed and cut into almost any form imaginable, I endeavor to push its physical boundaries and create imagery and art that is not expected from such a delicate structured material. The goal of art is to surprise and excite, to bring something new to the table.”

*Yulia Brodskayahttp://www.artyulia.com/

yulia-brodskaya-12A native of Russia, Yulia is an internationally-known artist with an impressive list of clients (click here).  She graduated with her MA in Graphic Communication, and appropriately calls her paper sculptures “PAPERgraphics”.   Yulia’s work is so beautiful and intricate, I can’t help but stare in amazement.  As her trademark method is turning strips of paper on its side to decorate the base page, I may want to explore trying this method for some future work of my own.

*Rob Ryanhttp://www.misterrob.co.uk/

Rob-Ryan-We-Don’t-Fly-North-2008.-Papercut-paper-100-x-61-cmBritish man Rob is a paper cutter that strips everything down as much as possible to produce a high-contrast, high-detailed image.  With one piece of paper, and a series of knives, he brings his masterpieces to reality by hand!  I guess we can say he is the king of the xacto knife!  His individual pieces portray a story in silhouette about sadness, being alone, and longing for love.  If you look closely at this image, you will see he cuts text into the paper, as well.  That’s impressive!  Rob, you are a skilled, brave man, but I think I’ll rely on the laser cutter for my complex images.  Beautiful work!

*Jeff Nishinakahttp://www.jeffnishinaka.com/

paper-art-man-on-pianoJeff is an American paper sculpture.  His work does well to show life-like depth while still remaining fairly flat.  One of his biggest admirers and largest collector of his work is Jackie Chan.  (I’d say you’ve hit the big time if Jackie Chan is your biggest fan.)  He states on his website:

“I have always wanted to be a painter, but while studying illustration at Art Center, I was given assignments in both a graphic design and fashion drawing class at the same time to experiment in different mediums, one of them being paper.  That was my ‘Ah-ha!’ moment.  I quickly developed a feel for working with paper.  From then on, I began experimenting with different papers, finding ways to shape, bend, and round edges on it.  I wanted to manipulate paper in the least invasive way, to keep the integrity and feel of it.  Paper to me is a living, breathing thing that has a life of it’s own.  I just try to redirect that energy into something that feels animated and alive.”

I would love to figure out his methods for my own work, though I’m unsure if my hand-recycled paper will behave in that same way.

*Calvin Nichollshttp://calvinnicholls.com

Screen Shot 2013-09-30 at 2.14.52 AMSimilar to Jeff, Canadian artist Calvin learned to manipulate paper to form 3-D textural images.  With paper and scissors, Calvin manages to create elaborate wildlife and landscape imagery.  He also started out his career as a graphic designer before finding his passion in paper sculpture.

*Alexandra Ball – http://www.alexandraball.co.uk

1o48British children’s book illustrator Alexandra has a specific illustrating style all her own.  With muted colors, minimal texture, and playful, happy imagery, she exudes peaceful childhood innocence and harmony with the world around them.  Something about our illustrative styles seems familiar, I would hope that the feeling one gets when viewing both of our works would be the same.

*Julie Morstad – http://juliemorstad.com

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TheSwing_Spread2Julie is an award-winning illustrator and artist from Vancouver.  I also feel a kindredness when viewing her work.  There is such a purity in the treatment of her illustrations, with sweet imaginative moments.  Some work may be more complex, colorful, or textural than others, but there is a definite commonality in style.  It even reminds me of the “Dick & Jane” books.  Ah, I’d love to meet her.

*Kathleen Lolleyhttp://kathleenlolley.com

Screen Shot 2013-10-31 at 11.00.54 PMKathleen spent much of her youth in Kentucky and Pennsylvania.  Storytelling plays a prominent role in her work, along with playfulness and dark ideas.  Nature, folk tales, and philosophy inspire her style, while she uses a mix of mediums appropriate to her concept– including paper and shadowbox art.  Her work presents a magical world with hints of mystery that I enjoy.

INSTALLATION ARTISTS

*Mia Pearlmanhttp://miapearlman.com

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miaAmerican installation artist Mia received her BFA in Architecture, and eventually discovered her passion of paper sculpture.  Her pieces are GIGANTIC– overwhelming spaces of the room to the degree you can’t imagine it’s all cut white paper.  It’s absolutely gorgeous, especially when it’s showcased with natural or artificial light.  She begins by making loose line drawings in India ink on large rolls of paper.  Then she cuts out selected areas between the lines to make a new drawing in positive and negative space.

*Liz Millerhttp://www.lizmiller.com

liz-miller-histrionic-malfeasance-03I had the pleasure of meeting American installation artist Liz Miller a couple of years ago when I started graduate school.  Our art department featured her work in one of the galleries, and us grad students helped her piece it together.  Felt, foam, and other tactile materials envelop the space so that the viewer can walk around and thru it, and physically experience it.  Each show she does brings about different color schemes and imagery, demonstrating pattern and ornament with a theme of armor and weaponry.

Though her installation work isn’t created with paper, it inspires the possibly of creating paper installations of such large scale like Mia Pearlman.

TYPOGRAPHERS

*Sean McCabe https://seanwes.com/

here-we-areAmerican artist Sean is a pro at hand-drawn typography.  Finding his portfolio website was like a breath of fresh air.  He can create typography as elaborate or straight-forward as it is fitting to the word or quote he is working with.  This is something I hope to achieve with my work this year.  I find that hand-drawn typography will work best with my art, as hand-drawn type has plenty of personality that can conform to the theme of any artwork.

*Eva Markovahttp://cargocollective.com/evamarkova

67345e09e04e6dc95dba96289989e214Eva is a Bulgarian graphic designer and illustrator.  The fact that her website says she is 22 years old is incredibly intimidating, and makes me want to become friends with her all at once.  Her work is very colorful and playful, which I admire.  Some of her typography is a little hard to read, but that is partly what I find beautiful about it.  She allows the text to be apart of the imagery– not the imagery apart of the text.  The 3 pieces I feature above is hand drawn by Eva, then vectorized and laser-cut.  I will also be experimenting with laser-cut imagery in the same way.

*Jessica Hische http://jessicahische.is/awesome

sayitwithflowersJessica is an American letterer and illustrator, and has to be one of the most well-known current designers.  She came to Mississippi State University when I was an undergrad to do a lettering workshop before she blew up with fame, and I decided I had too much homework to do that night to attend.  (Stupid me! What a missed opportunity!)  Her style is fairly recognizable with its pure awesomeness.  She also had the opportunity to design classic novel covers for Barnes & Noble (see it here).  I carried a boxed set around the store for probably an hour before I sadly put it back on its shelf, as I was broke as a joke and couldn’t afford it.  I had to buy the Little Women book when it came out, though!  Okay, I’ve gotten off track here.

I’ve kept up with Jessica’s work the longest out of the people I’m featuring, and she never ceases to amaze me.  The end.