Seen on the Street


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).

This photo ocured in a news report about a band called Urban Funk Machine.

Printed on Red River 80 lb. Luster Card Duo #1986 in an Epson SC-P600.

All rights reserved by William M. James © 2018 .

Infra spaces, incipient axes

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 (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.


2014 Olympic Silver Medalist Yuna Kim printed on Vexilliod Zigzag Ullagami.
2014 Olympic Silver Medalist Yuna Kim printed on Vexilliod Zigzag Ullagami.

The piece shown above uses a photo of 2014 Winter Olympic Silver Medalist Yuna Kim as re-imagined on Guy’s “Vexilliod Zigzag” Ullagami. 

Vexillo ZigZag 2

Kim Yu-na
Original photo

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

Stone stairs floral bed on Mandala 1
Stone stairs floral bed on Mandala 1

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


Mandala 1 Ullagami

More pieces on Mandala 1 are here:

Marbles Dipole - Mandala 1
Marbles Spirals on Mandala 1 Ullagami

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.

Spider H Pivot Mandala 1
Colorful Spider on Mandala 1 Ullagami
Wonder Woman Mirrors
Wonder Woman, Menace of the Mirrors on Mandala 1 Ullagami

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.

Cable Stay Bridge tower on Mandala 2
Cable Stay Bridge tower on Mandala 2
Mandala 2
Mandala 2 Ullagami

Here are some more mandala 2 pieces.

Cactus Whorl - Mandala 2
Succulent Growth on Mandala 2 Ullagami

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.

Spiral Stain Pan INVERTED on Mandala 2

The original image (found on Pinterest) looked like this:

S spiral staircase 180 Pinterest acbcce1d4cf3423581ed1a4a98cba920

GIFs were made by me using the program, Webrotate 360 SpotEditor, available for free at

All Ullagami patterns used were purchased at Guy Petzall’s Etsy store

All composite works (photo & relief) shown are © William James, 2015. Creative Commons License Type BY  Attribution