Matthew Shlian takes paper art to the next level. Working with scientists, he incorporates paper engineering into his sculptures, producing precisely folded geometric works that are composed of tessellations.
Each project demands a different type of paper, and the process itself also varies a lot from piece to piece. “I start without a clear goal in mind, working within a series of limitations,” writes Shlian on his personal website, explaining his creative process. “For example, on one piece I’ll only use curved folds or make my lines this length or that angle, etc. Other times I begin with an idea for movement and try to achieve that shape or form somehow.”
According to Shlian, something usually goes wrong along the way, but oftentimes the mistake becomes more interesting than the original idea and he ends up working with that instead. “I’d say my starting point is curiosity,” he says. “I have to make the work in order to understand it. If I can completely visualize my final result I have no reason to make it – I need to be surprised.”
Learning from trial and error, Shlian explains that he mastered his craft by taking things apart, doing things the “wrong way”, and being curious. “Getting something wrong is more important to learning than copying something perfectly,” he says.
Take a look at some of his perfected results: