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Obsess Over Everything

Posts tagged paper

As many of you may have seen, my face and my paper appeared in a commercial for Cadillac for their Dare Greatly campaign, first airing during the Oscars broadcast.  I cannot even explain how incredibly honored I feel for being chosen to be a part of this- everyone should take the time to read the stories of each person featured.  There are amazing people doing amazing things, even at such a young age.

 

I am amazed that I was able to feature my art, but am especially excited to be able to stand as a heart transplant representative.  Even with all the knowledge we have, transplants are still a rare occurrence and I am one of the oldest survivors for a single organ at this date in time.  I want to be open about my work and my personal medical experiences- if you have any questions please feel free to ask me!

Click here to view the special page about me and my work on Cadillac’s Dare Greatly website.

 

Thank you again to everyone at Cadillac!  #DareGreatly

Last year, I was contacted by SF MOMA to do a special, site specific installation to hang inside of the newly renovated Square Offices in downtown San Francisco.  At first they wanted to know what I had available in inventory, but I had nothing at that moment left to give.  Then, I was told about a special wall they had in mind that had an enormous amount of light and extra high ceilings.  Obviously I was in love, so within 5 days I cut something special and was ready to install!

Here is the result- materials are handcut sketch paper and gold ink.  That’s it!  I was inspired by hanging plants and the landscapes in Oakland, CA in terms of imagery.

 

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So a couple months ago, I strolled into LUXE Creative‘s offices to visit my friend Martin and ask for some lighting advice for an exhibit.  I walked out with my advice, plus the possibility of a project to create an immense paper flower wall for a wedding.  I had never done one before, nor had I ever made a paper flower, but I thought this would be something fun and different to do.

Now, four months later, I finally finished up!  LUXE Creative was doing work for the wedding that was planned by Shari Zatman of Perfectly Planned in Pittsburgh.  We were set to install at the Heinz History Center.  I began work immediately, and looked at a number of patterns other DIY makers had used.  I also trusted my Cricut Explore for a little help too- it’s a cutting machine but it also comes with a number of cutting inspiration patterns.  In the end, I created my own flower designs that worked for this particular wall. It is also entirely handcut, which is what sets it apart from anything else you’ll find out there.   I’ll post those later this week!   Let me just say, Martin, his team, and I put in some intense hours during install day.  There were many bumps in the road, but I was extra confident and determined to make this the most beautiful thing in the room, well besides the bride of course!

Here it is, standing at 12 ft high x 20 ft long (original designs called for it to be 16 ft high) and over 100 lbs in weight thanks to the amount of paper.  It took four months of cutting every single day, except for one week where I ended up slicing a hole through my finger (ugh).

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Martin and I looking at our paper and light work.

Martin and I looking at our paper and light work.

Putting on finishing touches

Putting on finishing touches

Once the sun was almost down, I could finally see how beautiful the wall would look

Once the sun was almost down, I could finally see how beautiful the wall would look

Attempting to rest my legs while on the Lift

Attempting to rest my legs while on the Lift

more last minute hot glue touches!

more last minute hot glue touches!

 

So that’s that!  This year has handed me two huge projects and I am so proud to say that no matter what my health threw at me (after install I wasn’t able to walk for a day because of circulatory problems in my legs), I got the job done!  I have to thank everyone who helped me along the way, because one person can never handle anything alone.  Thanks to everyone, xoxoxoxoxo

It’s all about the details for me in papercutting.  When you’re making work like mine, that’s so repetitive and consists of mostly one, patterned image, you must get detailed in order to give your viewer some surprises.  In my latest installation, Vascular Caverns, I created my largest papercut work yet: a largescale installation that formed a cavern comprised entirely of handcut paper.  It took the longest, but was one of the shortest installations thanks to a solid month of prep!  Once it was up on the wall, I ended up cutting out more and more pieces just to give that extra touch.  So, for all you type A personalities and detail oriented creators, I have posted detail photos of the installation!  Have fun detail hunting!

 

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On April 24, after 5 months nonstop of papercutting, I opened my biggest show yet called Vascular Caverns at 707 Gallery in Downtown Pittsburgh.  The idea was one that I always had with me, so somehow I had to plan out covering a whole entire gallery in entirely handcut paper.  I knew I wanted it to be meditative, so I created a cavernous space, and included a smaller, secluded cavern within the gallery that viewers could step inside.  It was a huge success and it’s on view for some time.  If you are in the Pittsburgh area, come see it!  At the end of the exhibit’s time, I will be burning the entire installation during a performance piece- more info to come!

 

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New piece I installed this past week into the Mine Factory for the show “I Just Want the Paper,” curated by Ikechukwu Casmir Onyewuenyi.  For this piece, I handcut rice paper and added in details with graphite.  Normally, I’m adding wax, burning paper, or adding a jumble of processes into the sculpture.  But this time it was just me, my knife, and the paper.  Relaxing.  A relief, actually.  It was as though I was challenging myself to get back to papercutting basics.

Even more of a challenge was examining the space and adapting the piece to it.  Install week was renamed papercutting week in my book since I had to make an extra 400 cutouts in 48 hours.  And this is the final product!

Things this month have been absolutely amazing and absolutely busy! I am proud to announce that I am the Grand Prize Winner of the 2014 VSA Young Emerging Artist Program with the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C.! This year’s theme was “The Journey,” and prompted artists to submit their work that concerned their own personal journeys living with a disability. With this award, my piece is exhibited in the Smithsonian in Washington, it is also part of a nationally traveling exhibition, and I receive a cash prize of $20,000. I have been invited, along with the other 14 winners, to attend a Congressional Reception in January so I’m already starting to plan my outfit! I am extremely honored to be receiving this award and am so excited to see what this next year holds for me.1622843_10152345255192694_5115025851877106456_n

My winning papercut sculpture, Never Stopping, deals with my experiences as a heart transplant recipient, specifically the overwhelming feelings related to my physical issues as well as the desire for healing. The entire original sculpture is about 16 ft in height and is made entirely of handcut paper. I also added screenprinted cutouts of hands, legs, oranges, and bananas. These symbolize offerings and milagros, or physical representations of intentions. The idea behind it was for the viewer to become overwhelmed with the structure, in order to mimic my own feelings. For the Kennedy Center, I brought the piece down to a smaller scale, which you can see in the photo.me

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Never Stopping

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My transplant is a major part of my life, and I am open to any questions readers might have. I received my heart at the age of 14 months at New York Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital. That transplant team became my family, and I am always going back every now and then to visit. They still follow up with me and my procedure results even though I have switched to the cardiology team at UPMC Children’s Hospital. Right now, I still have my original heart making my transplant one of the oldest single organ transplants in the country.

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This past week, I opened a show in Oakland, CA for First Fridays.  It was so much fun and my first exhibit on the West Coast!  I had a bit of help with some of the bigger installation, and for the first time went on scaffolding.  Since I’m a short little lady, I was terrified of being so high off the ground.  But I did it and everything turned out so perfect.  Really, I don’t think I’ve ever had an easier install and it’s all thanks to the awesome, generous people from the gallery.  There’s an espresso bar connected, so I suggest to anyone from the area to stop by!  The show is at Hat Rac Gallery up from June 6- July 25.

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Boys setting up the scaffolding.

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Gold and black cutouts going up on the wall.  Yes, they’re all handcut!

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Me

 

 

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Never Stopping

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Growth in the

Growth in the Most 1

Is there an ending?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After I made those mangos the other day with the golden cutouts, I realized that I fell in love with the layout of the piece.  So, I had to make more.  I’m only working on 10 x 10 pieces, which makes my working go a little easier and calmer.  You get to work in such a small space and get to dive into some details.  So next: hands and legs.  Each of those represent milagros.  _DSC0682 _DSC0684 _DSC0687

This is what happens when you go too hard with your cutting.  My favorite pink knife, in shambles at this point.  I still tried using it and ended up cracking it in three more places.  Until it officially disintegrates, this is what I’m gonna use. _DSC0688

These little cutouts are made from BFK paper.  So they’re going to be in the small black piece with the hands.  First, I cut this out.  Then, I cover the pieces in gold leaf.  Sound easy, but it’s not.  I had gold leaf all over me and continue to find it in the strangest of places…_DSC0695_DSC0702

So I tried a different route with these guys.  Instead of cutting and then covering in gold leaf, I covered the sheet in the gold leaf first.  Let me just say that it went waaaay easier.  _DSC0703_DSC0710

 

For all of you Latinos out there- this post is for you.  Being out here, on a ranch, in the middle of nowhere, with nothing but Americans everywhere…. well let me just say that I’m starting to miss Miami.  So I made a piece that plays homage to one of my homes…  This is an idea that I’ve had for some time.  I wanted to do it in wood but need a scroll saw to do so.  I don’t have that.  I have paper, so paper it is.  The mangos are watercolor and so are the leaves.  The rest are cutouts that are covered in gold leaf.  _DSC0667 _DSC0668 _DSC0671 _DSC0673 _DSC0676

Yeah, I put it on my arm.  I saw it on Instagram today and decided to do it.  I painted one of my designs right onto my arm and there it stayed.  Wish it was permanent.  _DSC0677 _DSC0679 _DSC0680