PAPER // ROB RYAN




Two years ago last fall, I stumbled on Rob Ryan’s paper-cut work while looking for a very specific way to express my excitement over a friend’s engagement. I fell so in love with Rob’s work that I spent four very determined, winter months hunched over a plastic cutting board, finger-cutter in hand trying, desperately trying to make my own versions of his amazing pieces. I set up a station just in front of my couch, turned on a Yule log DVD and sketched and cut until my fingers very nearly bled, swift callouses forming on my new cutting hand. I would show the results here if I remembered what happened to them – in truth, they weren’t bad, but I learned a lot in those four months about sketching, design and just how much skill is involved in making a piece like Rob Ryan can make. And yes, they resembled Rob’s pieces as might any prehistoric drawing.

I still have a love of paper-cutting, I like to think of it as my winter sport. Paper-cutting is one of those raw art forms. Almost anyone can cut paper. You don’t need too much skill to cut a single sheet into a snowflake, or halloween mask; I’ve seen a lot of really creative paper-based pumpkin carvings! But as much as I love paper-cutting, I love Rob Ryan‘s paper-cutting even more. Look at the designs above! Some are so intricate, you can stare at them for hours and not fully taken in what you’re seeing; most carry messages of love and sometimes whole stories based solely on the few words or phrases in the work.

“A big part of my work is about seeing and appreciating the beauty in the everyday and to make people see how beautiful the world is and how beautiful their lives are” – Rob Ryan

You can access Rob’s work all over the place. Check him out on Etsy, buy his book, or take a look at his website which has a beautiful archive, including collaborations and commissioned works from Vogue, Urban Outfitters and Paul Smith. Or, hear Rob speak about his work with a video produced by Etsy last year. After the jump…


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