Welcome to Paper, Light & Shadow Part 5!

Lets make a musical instrument of sorts? Above, you can see my final outcome. I temporarily adhered the artwork to the wall using duct tape. This is a quick fix to apply the art to the wall and take a series of photos. The image above is using natural light from the mid-point of the afternoon coming from the window to the left of it. The piece above places an emphasis on new variation of our last tutorial as we learn how to create variations of height between each individual plane. The individual pieces are layered and composed fro the surface of the table upwards.

Hold up! Did you miss Part 1 & 2 of this tutorial series? See below (Yes I jumped ahead to part 5 here – part 3 & 4 are on the way too!)

Part 2 – https://www.ryanseslow.com/paper-light-form-shadow-part-2/

Part 1 – https://www.ryanseslow.com/how-to-make-an-ephemeral-paper-sculpture-from-home/

Artistic references? Lets do some research: What artists, historically over time have worked with similar processes by composing with planes and or flat 2D forms, and the use of light?

Anthony Caro, Faith Ringgold, Alexander Calder, Kara Walker, Isamu Noguchi, Naum Gabo, Diane Smith & James Turell to name a few. Who did you discover in your research?

Lets continue and take a look below..

As I mentioned, Im referencing a guitar in my minds eye. Or perhaps a mixture of various stringed instruments. I want to make it abstract but also visible enough for the viewer to know it is referenced from a musical instrument. The tools and materials needed are above, with the exception of some cardboard shown below. Im using bristol paper for this piece. It is strong and durable, you will notice how much more structural it is than regular printing paper. Using my x-acto knife I cut out a series of shapes and forms. You can see the basic shape of the guitar’s body above. I cut it in half and cut out a few more forms that had a gesture to either the form of the instrument plus some of the actions used in actually playing the instrument. I know, that part is much more subjective to interpret, plus Im Deaf so it may be different for how you make this interpretation. That is the beauty of art though!

Next, we will need some cardboard. You can take apart a box that you received from ordering something online, or perhaps snag it from your household. Local business usually recycle a lot of cardboard too, take a look and you will most likely find some cardboard quickly. Start cutting pieces into “strips” like the two pieces on the right side of the image above. Then, begin to cut those strips into small squares. About 1 inch per square will do! The small pieces do not need to be perfect squares but should be similar in size as we will be layering them to create “height & gauge”. (Remember, that x-acto knife blade is very sharp, please be careful while cutting).

Cut out a whole bunch of pieces and then get your glue stick ready as we will layer / stack them into multiples of 2, 3 & 4. This will give you some visible examples of how to build your planes (the pre-cut paper pieces above). Glue the squares by adding glue to both side of how they will stack, see below.

Also below is an example of the pieces glued together and stacked. The idea is to create subtle variations in the height of your pieces. This will help create shadows when you hand the piece vertically on the wall.

Next, as in the image below, start placing your stacked squares into strategic spots so that they will support the individual structure of the pieces / planes that you cut out. Play with the compositions, you can test place your pieces before gluing them down, I like to take photos of the arrangements before I glue them, it helps me “see” other potentials.

The image below is to display how the pieces visually create their variations in height. If you make the pieces too high they may become too heavy to support their weight adhered to the piece as a whole. Keep things subtle and close to the surface, it helps and a little bit of gauge goes a long way.

The final outcome is below! I have an old painted fireplace made of bricks in my apartment. It is a great background for this piece as the mix of texture and clean smooth paper seem to compliment each other. Play around with the environments to adhere your work. I plan to add some colorful lights to the art work when it gets darker tonight. I like this piece so much, it has inspired me to push the series forward. Perhaps I will add a figure playing the instrument? Im excited to see your outcomes!