Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Artist profiles - Lorenzo Duran and Karen O'leary

The great thing about art is that because it is so subjective and open to individual interpretations, it is a field that never remains stagnant, the boundaries are constantly being pushed and tried and tested. 

Two such artists who have done just that are Spanish artist Lorenzo Duran and American artist Karen O'leary. Their works are very similar in the amazing amount of time and detail that goes into them. So I thought I would club them into one single post!

Some artists sculpt stone, others carve wood, but Lorenzo has decided to express his artistic talent by cutting tree leaves...yes, you read right...tree leaves. 

Inspired by the old paper-cutting techniques of Chinese and Japanese artists, he decided to try them out on leaves, and cuts his intricate models into real leaves, using a very sharp scalpel. He believes every natural object and living thing has a bit of art in it and is a good medium to experiment his creativity. Whenever he gets an idea for a motif he first puts it on paper, then places it over a leaf and uses the scalpel to cut.

 Duran has experimented a lot with cutting various types of leaves, and admits that most of his early works ended up in the trash, but he learned from his mistakes and developed a whole process of preparing leaves and cutting them so they don’t break as often. He has to pick just the right leaves (thicker ones are better), then come the washing, drying, pressing  and cutting. The last part is obviously the most delicate, because fragile leaves can break right at the end, and the artist loses days of work in an instant. Pretty frustrating, but nothing beats the feeling of fulfillment when he actually completes one of his cut-away artworks.

Yet another reason for me to love anything Spanish! 


Karen O'leary is definitely one of the most patient people on the planet. She spends most of her days cutting away at thick watercolor sheets of paper, until she creates jaw-dropping replicas of conventional city maps. The amount of time and patience she puts into every one of her works makes them unique masterpieces. For each one of her maps, she spends a great deal of time drawing it in detail first, and only then begins the painstaking process of cutting.
They may not be as helpful as conventional maps when you need to find your way around a metropolis, but the hand cut paper maps are simply stunning to look at.
Take a look:

Street map of London
 Street map of Montreal
 Street map of SFO
 Sydney street map
And then my favorite, Seattle. Here is an image of a conventional street map of Seattle..
and here is the same part of the city on a map created by Karen....
Quite amazing isn't it?

If you’d like to own one of Karen O’leary’s intricate hand-cut paper maps, you can find a wide range of cities, from Madrid to Sydney, at her online Etsy shop. While the $1,100 price tag may seem a bit discouraging, judging by the amount of effort Karen puts into her art, you’ll find it’s a bargain.

These are some DIY's I will NOT be attempting! 


Sudha said...

isnt this just amazing !

Richa said...

oh my gosh. Is this real...?

beautiful !

Nayana Donga said...

Simply outstanding..Thank you for sharing...

GB said...

DROOL over the city maps! Labor of love indeed........

Shalini said...

Wow, simply outstanding work. They all look unreal.

I love the leaf with a tree cutout in it best of all.