Paper Artist Engineers Incredible Relief Sculptures Entirely by Hand

3D Paper Sculpture Art by Matthew Shilian

Artist Matthew Shlian describes himself as a “paper engineer,” and it’s clear to see why—his impressive relief sculptures look as though they’ve been formed using a machine, but they’re actually meticulously hand-made from paper. Shlian is clearly a master of paper art, but he also has an eye for color, giving his three-dimensional, mosaic-like forms a whole new level of interest and depth.

From soft pastel gradients to reflective metallic surfaces, Shlian sculpts his geometric forms from a variety of different paper. Although his work looks as though it’s been mathematically planned out in advance, the artist usually starts with an idea and lets his chosen material take over as he folds. “Beginning with an initial fold, a single action causes a transfer of energy to subsequent folds, which ultimately manifest in three-dimensional forms,” he explains. “I'd say my starting point is curiosity; I have to make the work in order to understand it. If I can completely visualize my final result I have no reason to make it—I need to be surprised.”

From waves of elegant curved forms to clusters of geometric paper spikes, Shlian’s mesmerizing patterns and shapes are influenced by the world around him. “I find inspiration in just about everything; Solar cell design, protein misfolding, Islamic tile patterning, systematic drawing, architecture, biomimetics, and music,” he says. “I have a unique way of misunderstanding the world that helps me see things often overlooked.”

Scroll down to check out some of Shlian’s amazing geometric paper sculptures and see more from his dazzling portfolio on his website.

Paper engineer Matthew Shlian crafts 3D paper sculptures that turn the everyday material into incredible works of art.

3D Paper Sculpture Art by Matthew Shilian3D Paper Sculpture Art by Matthew Shilian3D Paper Sculpture Art by Matthew Shilian

It's hard to believe each fold and curve is actually made of paper.

3D Paper Sculpture Art by Matthew Shilian3D Paper Sculpture Art by Matthew Shilian3D Paper Sculpture Art by Matthew Shilian

This artist is clearly a master of paper sculpting.

3D Paper Sculpture Art by Matthew Shilian3D Paper Sculpture Art by Matthew Shilian3D Paper Sculpture Art by Matthew Shilian3D Paper Sculpture Art by Matthew Shilian3D Paper Sculpture Art by Matthew Shilian3D Paper Sculpture Art by Matthew Shilian3D Paper Sculpture Art by Matthew Shilian3D Paper Sculpture Art by Matthew Shilian

Matthew Shlian: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | YouTube

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Matthew Shlian.

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Emma Taggart

Emma Taggart is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met. Originally from Northern Ireland, she is an artist now based in Berlin. After graduating with a BA in Fashion and Textile Design in 2013, Emma decided to combine her love of art with her passion for writing. Emma has contributed to various art and culture publications, with an aim to promote and share the work of inspiring modern creatives. While she writes every day, she’s also devoted to her own creative outlet—Emma hand-draws illustrations and is currently learning 2D animation.

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