Saturday, February 23, 2013

Matt Shlian - The Paper Engineer

Matt Shlian
Paper Sculptor and Engineer

          I personally have always had a thing for geometry and 3D design, so this is right up my alley.  When I first came across some of Matt Shlian's work, I was astounded.  I still can't believe the level of intricacy, precision and size of some of his paper sculptures as he calls them.  If anyone has worked with paper or done origami, you know how difficult it can be to get sharp edges and points, but that does not seem to be an issue for Matt.
          Most people think of paper as nothing more than just a white, smooth, flat piece of tree pulp, but it can be so much more.  Matt Shlian does an amazing job of redefining the boundaries of what "folded paper" can be.  At first glance his work looks like molded plastic or metal with sharp edges and smooth curves.  But only in the description did I learn that everything he makes is only paper.  The thought and planning that must go into every piece he creates is mind-boggling.
          Matt started as an undergrad studying ceramics but soon realized that he wanted to learn more.  After studying about glass, painting, performance and sound, he graduated with a dual major in ceramics and print media.  Matt started making large computer prints from which he created pop-up designs, early on in college.  He also said that he has always had a fascination with pop-up books and would often take them apart just to learn how they worked.  To top it all off, Matt does not use any kind of computer software, saying that his work just grows and develops as he makes it.  
         Be sure to check out Matt's beautiful website here, and browse through his extensive portfolio, including his videos.  There are some truly amazing things.  Below are just a few of my favorites.

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