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Issue five insight #3 // Owen Gildersleeve
The London-based illustrator specialises in paper-cut art of the most stylish variety, and has an impressive roster of clients - from Harrods and Rolex to the Guardian, Wired, and the tastemakers at Wallpaper* magazine.
Here at Wrap, we’re huge fans of his slick (but playful) approach to the craft, and so he was our first choice to create the illustration that accompanies our full article (pictured above). We also asked him some questions about his start in the industry, his opinions on the craft’s popularity, and what he’s up to next. Here’s what he told us.
All In The Crop by Owen Gildersleeve for Wallpaper* Magazine
What first appealed to you about paper art and how has your style within this craft evolved as you’ve got more skilled at physically cutting the pieces?
My paper craft style evolved quite organically from an interest in hand-crafted work. Initially I was working more with found objects and different tactile mediums to create big typographic pieces. Gradually I started to expand my ideas beyond just type, bringing in imagery as well. I realised that paper could be a good medium for this, as it would still give my illustrations that tactile quality, but it’s also a very diverse medium and so it would allow me to have a lot of freedom in how I used and formed it.
What tools are essential? Do you ever work digitally, or always completely by hand? (In which case, we have to ask - how often do you accidentally nip your fingers with the scalpel?)
All my work is created by hand just using a scalpel. I do occasionally cut or slice my fingers, as the blades are for surgical use. It hasn’t happened for a while now though (fingers crossed).
Stargazing by Owen Gildersleeve
Do you think the practice is becoming more popular, or has the level of interest always been quite high? And do you think that your approach to it is relatively unusual?
There has definitely been a rise in the amount of people working with paper recently. As I mentioned, it’s a very diverse medium, as well as easy to acquire and quite cheap, so I can understand why this has happened.There are a lot of people doing lots of great things in this medium, so I guess my approach is, like everyone else, just an extension of my slightly perfectionist personality!
Cover illustration by Owen Gildersleeve for Computer Arts Magazine’s iPad Design Guide issue
What kind of commissions have you been working on recently - is there a wide range of projects you’re asked to take on? We’re especially interested to hear about your work with Wallpaper*, as they seem to be championing paper art recently.
Work has been quite varied recently. Over the last few months I’ve been working or a few advertising projects, as well as a bunch of editorials, some prints for a few exhibitions in New York and London, and a selection of invites and guides.
Wallpaper* were great to work with! As you say, they’re really pushing the hand-crafted aesthetic recently, and are working with a bunch of friends who are working in this way. Fingers crossed we can work together more in the future.
Interview by Sarah Housley for Wrap - follow Sarah on Twitter @housleys