Artist Builds ‘Avatar: The Last Airbender’ Light Boxes Using Layers of Cut Paper

Avatar: The Last Airbender Papercraft Art by Ben Charman

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Recreating a scene from a show or film with paper may seem like an impossible task, but artist Ben Charman proves it can be done to great effect. The London-based crafter discovered paper art in 2019 and has been building enchanting light boxes ever since. He finds inspiration for his creations in popular culture—taking inspiration from the likes of Avatar: The Last Airbender, Star Wars, Pokémon, and Stranger Things.

“I followed different artists on Instagram and began learning how to use different shades of color and different layers of paper to create artwork that had depth,” Charman tells My Modern Met. “I use a lot of pop culture references in my work, and Avatar: The Last Airbender has been a huge inspiration over the last year and its new surge in popularity helped catapult my work to a larger audience.” His pieces use the distinct silhouettes of characters and animals as well as layers of paper cut in the shapes of different natural elements to depict iconic scenes from the animated TV show.

And while in photographs Charman's light boxes appear to made from colored paper, he actually uses different ambient lighting to mimic that effect. “I was inspired by the paper artists Hari & Deepti to start making papercraft light boxes, which are cut from white paper and then back-lit to create amazing illuminated pieces with shadows and depth, and I had huge success online making and selling these,” the artist shares. He often displays the same light box with different lighting to show how color impacts the emotional narrative of the scene.

You can purchase original art and prints via Charman's Etsy shop, and keep up to date with his latest projects by following the artist on Instagram.

London-based artist Ben Charman creates amazing light boxes inspired by Avatar: The Last Airbender.

Avatar: The Last Airbender Papercraft Art by Ben Charman

He creates the three-dimensional effect by layering numerous sheets of cut paper.

Avatar: The Last Airbender Papercraft Art by Ben Charman

Then, he illuminates the scene with ambient light.

Avatar: The Last Airbender Papercraft Art by Ben CharmanAvatar: The Last Airbender Papercraft Art by Ben CharmanAvatar: The Last Airbender Papercraft Art by Ben CharmanAvatar: The Last Airbender Papercraft Art by Ben CharmanAvatar: The Last Airbender Papercraft Art by Ben CharmanAvatar: The Last Airbender Papercraft Art by Ben CharmanAvatar: The Last Airbender Papercraft Art by Ben Charman

Charman also makes light boxes inspired by Star Wars, Stranger Things, Pokémon, and more…

Star Wars Papercraft Art by Ben CharmanStar Wars Papercraft Art by Ben CharmanStranger Things Papercraft Art by Ben CharmanPokemon Papercraft Art by Ben CharmanPokemon Papercraft Art by Ben CharmanPokemon Papercraft Art by Ben CharmanPokemon Papercraft Art by Ben CharmanRick and Morty Papercraft Art by Ben CharmanBen Charman: Etsy | Website | Facebook | Instagram

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Ben Charman.

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Margherita Cole

Margherita Cole is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met and illustrator based in Southern California. She holds a BA in Art History with a minor in Studio Art from Wofford College, and an MA in Illustration: Authorial Practice from Falmouth University in the UK. When she’s not writing, Margherita continues to develop her creative practice in sequential art.
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