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.