Artist Rogan Brown creates beautiful intricate artworks through the use of cut paper. Pulling inspiration from the nature around us, Brown creates hand cut and laser cut pieces that are very detail oriented. We sat down with the artist to learn a little more about the process and inspirations behind his intriguing artwork.
To view more work by Rogan Brown, visit roganbrown.com
When did you begin working with paper?
I first started experimenting with paper in 2009 initially creating very simple hand cut shadow pieces but as I continued to work with the material I began to understand its incredible flexibility, the way in which you can push it to extremes of intricacy and detail but without compromising its structural integrity. Since then I have been constantly pushing at the limits of what it is possible to do with cut paper.
What is your process from start to finish? What tools do you use?
Initially I hand cut everything with a scalpel knife, dissecting the sheets of paper through hours of painstaking work. For me the long and slow process of creating hand cut works such as “Outbreak” or “Cut Microbe” is a vital element in the way that they signify; people react very positively to this aspect of the work, to the patience and craft that went into the making of it. For so many years ready made, conceptual art has dominated our culture and now people are thirsting for an alternative, for an art that celebrates craft and the individual imagination. In more recent work such as the “Magic Circle” series I have started to use a laser cutter in order to push the paper even closer to its material limits achieving ever greater levels of intricacy, but these works too have to be hand mounted which is again a long and laborious process.
Your work is very intricate. How do you plan out how the final piece will look when you are begining?
Everything starts with detailed drawings and I use tracing paper to superimpose one drawing on another allowing me to have an idea of what the finished piece will look like in 3D. Each layer of the work is separated from the other by means of a hidden foamboard spacer which creates the illusion of floating; it’s only when all of the spacers have been cut and glued that I can really see the piece in 3D and then I often have to go back to alter and “prune” each layer until the whole thing works well as an ensemble.
Where do you grab inspiration for you work?
From nature in all its incredible variety at every level of scale: from particle physics tearing open the hidden and bizarre world of the subatomic to Hubble telescope images of galaxies in formation to the beauty of a humble circle of moss growing on a tree branch. Obviously microbiology plays an important role in my work and I’m constantly looking through images drawn from this field: cell structures, bacteria, viruses etc…My aim is to create work that makes multiple visual references but which refuses to simply imitate nature, these are imagined representations, nature transformed through the creative process.
Which is your favorite piece? Why?
My favorite piece is always my latest piece which is currently the “Magic Circle” series. These pieces celebrate biodiversity, that idea of repetition and variety that we find everywhere in nature. The circle makes reference to the shape of the petri dish and microscope lens but also to the Buddhist mandala, the circle that allows us to meditate on the beauty of the natural world and the creativity it inspires.