If you would slowly walk past this piece, you might say it’s a trippy one. It’s spell is cast by seeming to turn itself inside out to follow your gaze. Or rather, it has two faces on the front, which are entwined symmetrically.
It’s kind of like this –
On my drawing board, its plan looks like this:
The whole piece will be folded from a single piece of printed paper. The upper part (the photo) will be printed on the front, and the pattern below will be printed on the back to guide my blade and my embossing tip. The four colored shapes only emphasize that the structure is formed of four non-overlapping domains. Each will be folded separately.
This the first kirigami that I’ve done which can be displayed in a shadow-box frame.
Breaking the smooth surface, his head pops out of an upper plane, while several cymbals pop out of others. An avenue near the top is deeply inset between arcs of step-like folds. Those arcs surround the busker and the viewer, placing us inside of a little urban niche.
All the cut lines are gentle curves, so as to emphasize the centering effect of the curvilinear perspective, itself the effect of using a wide-angle camera lens. Fold lines always need to be straight in the one-piece kirigami format.
Turning the piece vertically, you would see this:
This work is the second part of my original series (also see Airshow).
In a nearly tangible sense, these jets arise fast, high and vivid into the airspace far above a modern city. Although the original photo itself was a beautiful capture, the wonder of free flight seems amplified in the three dimensional sculpture. The third dimension has opened up a spatial fracture. The lofty but rigidly confining urban skyline very nicely offsets the wide-open, fluid domain of the airspace. The upper pictorial space is folded convex, and the lower space is folded concave, which provides an almost cinematic sense of uplift.
You can glimpse the internal design of the spaces in the left/right scan of the piece above. A vertical scan makes a different impression, almost like a spectator’s view.
Although it is usual to use right angle folds in Kirigami crafts, by using only 60 degree folds the positive spaces are nested in behind the negative foreground space. In the unmodified photo, perspective foreshortens the contrails back into the lower left. The pleating of the sky by the folding also suggests to me a visual simile for a sonic wave front being lead forward by the airplanes. Or, in a different sense, the pleating also evokes billowy cumulus clouds.
This design came to me because I was dissatisfied with the original version and had decided to try to do something different with it. There was still an unused flexibility in the paper structure, because contained in the design, there are actually two independently foldable Kirigami motifs. So, those can each be folded in two different ways.
In my first version, just below, the two Kirigami domains had been folded with the same polarity, so the jets and the skyline occupied one simple, continuous space.
Which was exactly how I saw that space in the original photo (credited below). Have I gilded a perfect lily; or has some value been added? You will decide.
I like about this, the way those nested rings in the tree trunk appear as a calm inner center, while in contrast, the 3D model makes a centrifugal outburst of energy. What a nice pairing of Yin and Yang energies!
2. Perilous Birding
Suppose one were to join a pair of identical 3D forms, one of which is folded inside out. Can an image bridge two opposite forms? Maybe for example, a mirrored image?
The birds arise on the normally extroverted space above, and their reflections are more deeply immersed in the oddly introverted space below.
Guy Petzall’s 3X3 Building Blocks (folded normally).
3. Deep inversion!
This perspective, looking down onto the deck of the schooner Sagitta from high atop her masthead, suggests vertigo. The void volume and sheer pull of gravity of a double negative perspective is accentuated by some inward-inclined ribs.
There are people who cut and fold paper, or who manipulate photos in the third dimension. So, who has put both methods together? Here, you’ll find unusual pieces which are a hybrid of photo ‘covers’ with reliefs made by a paper cut and fold process. The designer of the specific 3D forms now being used, Guy Petzall, has named them Ullagamis https://www.facebook.com/ullagami/info/?tab=page_info. (His are made from unimprinted paper).
A curious proposition arose in my mind: how would one begin to develop a hybrid process to create pieces which are more than the sum of their parts (not less!). So, here’s a small taste of what I’ve learned from having superimposed about 26 different photos on eleven different 3D Ullagami reliefs.
Somehow, a photo of a photo cover on a 3D relief seems to reduce the dimensionality that was gained in the process to less than nothing. So rather than show still photos of these pieces, I’ve made these GIF animations to try to display their special qualities.
The piece shown above uses a photo of 2014 Winter Olympic Silver Medalist Yuna Kim as re-imagined on Guy’s “Vexilliod Zigzag” Ullagami.
Vexilliod Zigzag Ullagami.
This Ullagami was a great match to the photo. Ms. Kim twists her body, containing all the torque of the power stroke within her compact core. The prisms gathered below her lift and thrust her upward and forward. A pivot axis emerges which aligns with her dynamic body core. A melding of 2D/3D forms visually harmonizes a complex array of implicit forces.
Mandala 1 Pieces
Likewise on a diamond framework, the piece above has instead a calm, contemplative dynamic. The image of a stone staircase arising between two flower beds is grafted on a pattern called “Mandala 1”. The relief dimension draws the eye, and implicitly also the viewer’s body, forward and upward across many horizontals through the garden and into the trees. Further harmony emerges in the orderly proportionality of the steps in the image to those in the relief.
Mandala 1 Ullagami
More pieces on Mandala 1 are here:
Here is a double-sided piece composed of ‘right side out’ and ‘inside out’ components, nested together back to back. The paper form seems interestingly to associate with the picture as a novel (spider) web. Positive and negative spaces emerge and bind upon the incipient axis.
Mandala 2 pieces
Guy’s “Mandala 2” pattern is also based on a diamond, but this one’s a bit oblique. It reminded me of looking upward at something. The photo is an up view of a bridge tower with its cable stays. The stays pop out on the surface of the relief and seem to be almost physically stretched, something like a stringed instrument.
Here are some more mandala 2 pieces.
Inversion of the spider (above) is carried one step further in this panoramic view inside a long spiral staircase. There is no positive perspective that would be associated with normal visual experience. The spaces above and below the viewpoint spiral into empty space, and an inverted piece best represents that kind of visual experience.
The original image (found on Pinterest) looked like this: