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Every Portrait This Paper Quilling Artist Creates Is a Masterpiece

Paper Quilling Artwork by Yulia Brodskaya

“Dream Catcher”

Artist Yulia Brodskaya pushes the boundaries of the centuries-old craft known as paper quilling. With her penchant for experimentation and a desire to make her practice a multi-disciplinary one, her awe-inspiring works utilize paper quilling's decorative techniques in a contemporary way. Part quilling and part Impressionist-style art, Brodskayana’s latest pieces feature portraits on a black background. The colorful strips of paper vibrate against the dark ground and showcase the myriad ways in which she manipulates the materials. It brings a new level of appreciation for her meticulous work.

For years, Brodskaya was quick to choose a light background for her papercraft. “It rarely even crossed my mind that I should choose any color other than white,” she tells My Modern Met. “White allows all wonderful color reflections and blended inter-reflections from paper strips to be visible and showcased at their fullest potential.”

The dark-colored paper presents a unique challenge for an artist. “Black color is dense, dominating, it absorbs all reflections and most of the shadows,” Brodskaya explains. “Only the top edges of paper strips are left to see.” Thin strips of paper are “easily swallowed” and are visually overpowered. So while it’s certainly not impossible to work on a dark ground, it requires different considerations on how the added paper will interact with it.

Brodskaya created an abundance of contrast for the portraits on black paper. To do this, she incorporated large, tightly coiled circles for pops of color, strips that were packed together to mimic brush strokes, and accents of light-colored paper pasted flat onto the background. But she didn’t completely cloak the black ground; it plays a vital role in her compositions. “I chose to leave plenty of empty dark space and blend in colored parts to gradually transition them into the black nothingness, so the background plays a crucial role in these new artworks.”

Scroll down for Brodskaya’s paper quilling art on black paper. To see what she’s working on next, follow her on Instagram.

Artist Yulia Brodskaya pushes the boundaries of paper quilling with her dramatic portraits on black paper.

Paper Quilling Artwork by Yulia Brodskaya

“Dream Catcher” (detail)

Paper Quilling Artwork by Yulia Brodskaya

“Dream Catcher” (detail)

Portrait by Yulia Broadskaya

“Flame”

Portrait by Yulia Broadskaya

“Flame” (detail)

Portrait by Yulia Broadskaya

“Jaguar”

Portrait by Yulia Broadskaya

“Jaguar” (detail)

Portrait by Yulia Broadskaya

“Jaguar” (detail)

Portrait of Paul McCartney

“Paul McCartney”

Portrait of Paul McCartney

“Paul McCartney” (detail)

Get a peek into Brodskaya's process when you watch the making of Dream Catcher:

Yulia Brodskaya: Website | Instagram | Facebook 

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Yulia Brodskaya.

Related Articles:

Learn How Paper Quilling Started Centuries Ago and Why It’s So Popular Today

Paper Quilling Artist Creates “Ultra Realistic” Animal Portraits

Thousands of Strips of Hand-Colored Paper Form Kaleidoscopic Abstract Sculptures

Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met and Manager of My Modern Met Store. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.

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