A fisheye photo image was printed on one piece of paper, and carefully cut and pleated to form a cluster of crystalline prisms around this diver. Those forms stretch in every direction and dimension, to suggest his subliminal awareness of and connections to his surrounding world.
In the first moment of his high dive, his body seems to hover with a symmetric composure. Instantly, he will start to free-fall for 90 feet into that deep chasm. He has expertly prepared a precise sequence of mid-air gyrations. Upon impact, three seconds later, his body’s speed will reach 53 mph.
In any part of his body that doesn’t slip into the water perfectly upright, he will feel the same force as though he had fallen from a 13 foot height onto bare concrete.
Technical note: the Kirigami sheet was folded so that all its internal angles were 45 degrees. Abstract Kirigamis are usually folded to 90 degrees, but for photo landscapes, I find that the image can’t be seen as a whole anymore.
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.
With it’s pliable folds, the right angles can be changed from introverted to extroverted in many combinations. Pleasing asymmetries can be caused to appear. For example:
See them turn here.
An brief explanation of my methodology follows, if you like. The upper and lower forms have their inner and outer colors inverted. Two identical paper strips were printed with a row of colored rectangles, with different colors on the front and back sides. Although identical at first, I folded them in an opposite sense: all angles were folded in the opposite ways. When partially folded, one strip looked this way:
These surfaces would faced outward when this upper module was fully folded.
The other side of that same strip looked like this:
All of these surfaces would be glued together to finish the upper module. These almost hidden colors show up only inside the middle pinches.
The lower module as was folded inversely, so its coloration is inside out vs. the upper one.
This old guy is a large Amazon Green parrot named Trouper. And vocally militant he can sometimes be. I had some fun scrambling his portrait to caricature my impression of his ‘dark side’. He looks so much sweeter in the original photo shown here [in my blog].
His claws and beak have drawn blood. “Beware the Jabberwock, my son! The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!” – Lewis Carrol
With my apologies to his indentured caregiver, N.L.P.
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: