Australian artist Emma Van Leest turns a simple sheet of paper into a magical visual story. She hand-cuts intricate patterns into large sheets, and then mounts them with glue onto foamcore. Several layers set against a vibrant, colorful backdrop form Van Leest’s three-dimensional scenes, which reference children’s stories, folk art, Medieval saints, and Hindu literature.
With just a simple blade, Van Leest carves out delicate, elaborate details that can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 months to create. Her inspiration comes from many of her travels overseas, as well as the time she spends reading in the library and exploring high quality images online.
Van Leest loves working with paper because “It's such an ephemeral, everyday material that we all use. We scribble on it, scrunch it up, throw it out. It's lightweight and accessible which means that you don't think of creating something so delicate and painstaking as a papercut with it. It's exciting to create something of beauty and interest out of it.”