“Phoenix Garden”, paper cut art by Dana Shek. I collaborated with Osage Art Consultancy on this art commission for the Grand Lisboa Palace, Macau. My artwork is placed in the ground floor dining area of the KLM gaming hall. It is a labour of love which spanned 6 months in the making. The overall size is H180 x 350 cm and it is the largest paper cut art I have created to date.
I draft a few compositions which will work with a 4-panel artwork. For this oversized artwork, the scale of the subject is equally important. Because the paper carving technique creates very fine details. It is best viewed up close. Lighting is key as it brings more depth and contrast to the carved parts and white paper. After deciding on the design, I use sticky notes to mark the position for the larger elements. The wings and clusters of flowers will follow my sketch. I cut the smaller elements around the bird wings afterwards by feel.
With each cut, the weight and form for each wing and flower come to life. My impression of a phoenix garden unfolds as I carve into the paper. The act of paper cutting, for me, has a meditative quality. My way of working tends to be organic once I have the design skeleton figured out. For the final touch, I add paper feathers to create more depth and shadow to the artwork. These feathers are cut and scored by hand. Then creased and adhered to the paper.
Paper seems to be a very basic material but it is incredibly versatile which is why I love to use it for my paper cut art. See more paper cut artwork in my series “Papier”.