One of things I enjoy most about interviewing artists and designers is being able to ask them about their process. No matter what materials they use, they always have a different way of starting and a different way of getting bringing their ideas to fruition. I’m especially intrigued when the works they turn out are extremely intricate and complex. When artist Tim Budden starts on a large-scale papercut, he has to figure out how to balance the design with making sure that the final piece does not tear or warp. Every one is a feat of engineering, even though it is made with just a sheet of paper. Tim’s work is on display at Suho Memorial Paper Museum (樹火紀念紙博物館) until March 24 (for more information about the exhibit, please see my recent article for the Taipei Times).
A lot of Tim’s work is inspired by his curiosity about Taiwan’s landscape and culture as an expat. I think you’ll find a lot to relate to if you are also a foreigner and alternate between feeling perturbed and enchanted by life here. Some of the images are unsettling (moped accidents and cockroaches) and some are just gorgeous (swarms of butterflies dancing around). Jagged Waves features ocean waves crashing against rocks. The closer you look at the details, the more plants and sea creatures are revealed. A lot of the papercuts are made with silk-backed paper and the luster of the fabric adds an extra hint of movement to each piece.
Tim’s latest series, Floating Stars, is a departure from traditional Chinese papercut art, which is usually made from sheets of red or black paper. To create the colors in the above papercuts, he first dripped acrylic paint on paper and then blew on it through a straw. After it dried, he let the different shapes and patterns that emerged guide his knife. The shadows that each work casts on the wall when it is hung is an important part of the viewing experience and Suho has done a great job with the exhibition’s lighting. For more information about the creation of Floating Stars, check out Tim’s blog.
Tim was a comic artist before moving to Taiwan and many of his panels have the liveliness and narrative qualities of a comic strip. In the work above, you can catch a glimpse of Daniel, a character that is a composite of Budden and his teenage son.