By now, we’ve seen all kinds of paper sculptures; mind-melting ones by Jen Stark, massive white paper ones by Jeff Nishinaka, and even beautifully layered ones by Cheong-ah Hwang. But, have you seen them as dramatic and emotion-filled as this?
Sher Christopher is an award-winning paper sculptor who is behind these incredible works of art. Her colorful characters spring to life because of her attention to detail. Notice the way the clothing is beautifully draped or how the eyebrows are precariously arched. The magic lies in the facial expressions and poses…
The artist sent us a collection of her favorite pieces and then was kind enough to answer a few interview questions. Read it all below.
How did you get started in making paper sculptures?
It was kind of a happy accident. I had taken a year out from my university studying furniture design and was living in the middle of nowhere doing countryside conservation work and had very little creative resources, except scissors and paper and glue. I began working with clay and originally began taking papier-mch moulds from the clay and it was a gradual progression to using just the paper on its own. I actually completed my final year at my university with a show of huge paper puppets!
What do you find the most gratifying about making them?
Achieving something new, a bigger challenge than the last sculpture. I set out with a goal and if I achieve it and it’s successful it inspires me to keep pushing the boundaries of what’s possible with paper.
Your sculptures all have a lot of emotion. How important is it for you to capture that?
Thank you for saying so, capturing emotion is very important to me in my work. I almost always start with the face, the eyes in particular, and then the overall pose of the character to portray a certain emotion. Often the body language is more important than the facial expression and I plan the pose very carefully but the two have to work together or the sculpture fails.
Who are some other paper artists that you admire?
I really like Peter Callesen’s work, the thought and design that goes into each piece is always stunning and he’s a true master of his craft. I also like Jen Stark’s bold use of colour and abstract design.
How long does one sculpture take you?
It really depends on the size and complexity of each sculpture but a character like The Monkey King takes around 5-7 days to create. (First one in this set.) I’ll often have to overlap projects but usually I prefer to finish one before starting on the next sculpture so that my focus is maintained just on that one piece. I’m also a ‘neat freak’ and always like to tidy up from the last project before planning the next!
What do you hope others get out of your work?
I want people to be fascinated, captivated by the characters and detail, and be amazed at what is capable of being created from a humble sheet of paper.
Like actors in her play. Wonderful work, Sher! Thanks for the interview.