Cutting Edges: Layered Back-Lit Paper Art Gets Deep & Dark

paper art cave people

Together, Hari & Deepti (Deepti Nair and Harikrishnan Panicker) turn sets of two-dimensional cutouts into vivid and haunting three-dimensional dioramas, often set in shadowy fantasy spaces.

paper above and underground

paper sunken ship sea

Despite the darkness of their subject matter, in ordinary lighting conditions there is almost nothing to be seen of these pieces. The work waits in the shadows, so to speak, popping out when you turn out the lights and turn on the LEDs inside each individual light box.

paper artist in context

paper art daylight

paper cut out art

Loosely analogous to a book, perhaps, the story plays out in the space between the pages, each one individually flat but, together with illumination, adding up to something more than the sum of its parts.

paper art fantasy scene

paper art on display

While most of their works are relatively small, a recent project challenged them to build at a much bigger scale, creating an entirely monstrous (pun intended) New York cityscape (shown below).

paper artist giant sized

From the artists: “Paper is brutal in its simplicity as a medium. It demands the attention of the artist while it provides the softness they need to mold it in to something beautiful. It is playful, light, colorless and colorful. It is minimal and intricate. It reflects light, creates depth and illusions in a way that it takes the artist through a journey with limitless possibilities.”