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.