“Paper is a noble material,” says Aurel Rubbish, a former electronic musician and graffiti artist. For the past four years, this 33-year-old Frenchman has dedicated himself to the delicate art of paper-cutting. Inspired by street art, tattoo design and the American Pop Surrealism movement, Rubbish carves intricate, lacy designs with little more than a knife, some gold-leaf, glue and of course, paper.
His cut-ups vary from meters-high to pocket-sized. They can be found in swank Swiss galleries and on abandoned Paris walls, where the paper often begins disintegrating as soon as it is pasted up. Humans, flowers and insects combine in quasi-religious symbols: a pair of hands clasped in prayer, a skull adorned with roses. Like a true street artist, Rubbish uses ordinary materials in imaginative new ways: for one series, he crafted his papercuts as mini-chapters in the open pages of Moleskine notebooks.
He was never quite so ingenious with spray-paint. “I didn't have any soul at the time and I mainly tagged rubbish bins,” he says. Only after a collector pointed out how beautiful the graffiti stencils could be on their own did Rubbish start thinking about papercuts.