In his quest to define beauty through intricate paper sculptures, Rogan Brown in fact strives to reinvent and represent it. This UK-born, France-based artist draws his inspiration from scientific illustrations and a fascination of the natural world. Though nothing of Rogan Brown’s paper sculptures comes directly from nature, everything is transformed through his imagination and therefore bears the imprint of his subjectivity.
Each of Brown’s works emerges after a long process of deliberation and gestation. Some of his works can take him up to five months to complete. But according to Brown, the labor-intensive process and amount of time spent on each piece are an inseparable part of its meaning.
His choice for using paper as a premium medium happened by accident while playing in his studio with paper and a scalpel. But unlike most paper-cutting artists, who keep their work in 2D, Brown started a layering technique while remembering the 3D topographical maps from his geography lessons. He starts by cutting a layer, not the top or bottom one, but a middle one and from that the other layers develop.
By using white paper, Brown maximizes the play of light and shadow, which are crucial elements of his sculptures. When viewed through a photographic lens, one sees each piece at a specific moment with the light at a specific angle. In reality, Brown’s pieces are never static but seem to move with the changing light of the day. This gives them a kinetic, living quality.
It was only after having sold his first piece, that Brown was able to call himself an artist. Brown wrote me: “It’s difficult to find recognition for this art form (paper art) because it doesn’t fit conventional boundaries and we live in a global art culture which is disturbed by things that are out of the box”. I fully agree with him!
I hereby share with you some of my favorite photos of Rogan Brown’s paper sculptures, as well as the personal story behind “Kermel”, his latest work, which embraces the fascinating artistic use of paper. It will hopefully leave you, as it did me, in awe.
In my opinion, Rogan Brown has truly achieved the excellence of beauty with his paper art sculptures. I cannot wait to lay my eyes on his upcoming work, “Cornucopia”.
image courtesy by Rogan Brown
The story about “Kernel” by Rogan Brown
Kernel is my latest piece and was inspired in part by the chestnut. I live in an isolated rural area in France in the middle of a chestnut forest. In times gone by the inhabitants of this region lived off the chestnuts, they would make flour from them and then bread. To this day it is an iconic fruit and a life-giving symbol for the people here. I love the contrast between the inside and outside of the chestnut: outside the spiky, sharp protective shell encasing inside the shiny, smooth, mahogany fruit. It is this contrast that delights: painful exterior, beautiful voluptuous interior. We see this dynamic repeated throughout nature and I wanted to capture this in Kernel.