Papercut Series: PapercutsbyJoe

Couple on Bikes Handcut Paper Silhouettes

I believe I described PapercutsbyJoe by saying his pictures say it all and to quote myself from before, “he is the master, and each of his pieces is hand-cut from a single piece of black paper.” I still don’t really have words to describe his work except awe-inspiring. Even if you did not know his pieces were hand-cut from a single piece of black paper, you would still be mesmerized by solely his silhouettes. He takes everyday aspects from nature and architecture and turns it into a work of art. It is as if you are looking at this everyday object for the first time.

Name: Joe Bagley

Age: 26

Location: Boston

Is this a fulltime business for you?

Yes, I’ve been papercutting full time since the fall of 2008

Why do you choose paper as your median?

I think I just enjoy the fact that people are impressed when you make something from paper.  It’s a very common material, so whenever it is transformed into something beautiful or complicated, it gets a great reaction from others.

Octopus Handcut Paper Silhouette

Penny Farthing Bicycle

What led you to this?

This started as a hobby when I was 10 having first done it at a summer art program.  I really enjoyed working with the sharp knives, and I kept up the hobby for years.  A few years ago I started trying to make my own designs and it just grew from there.

Do you ever feel “artist’s block”, and if so how do you overcome it?

YES! I tend to work in big bursts of manic excitement and enthusiasm.  I get ideas, crank out a bunch of designs and then I feel mentally empty and kind of let things go on their own for a while while I wait for the next burst of inspiration. I regularly have worries that I’ll never have a good idea again.  Sometimes it’s just seeing something on the street or at a museum that gets my creativity going.  A recent trip to a Natural History museum broke a long dry spell and I now have over a dozen bug and animal designs that I am really proud of.  I designed them all in one day, and cut them for the etsy listings over a few days.

How would you describe your style?

I would call it the New American Style of Papercutting.  Basically I invented itJ  It’s hyper realistic and emphasizes the difficult areas of  a design rather than pass over them or avoid them like traditional papercutting.  Basically it’s creating the largest most detailed designs I can possibly do with paper.

Who are some of your favorite artists and sites?

I really like Roa, Alexander McQueen, Dali, Shepard Fairey, Tord Boontje, bansky, Lady Gaga, anyone that just goes for it.

Bow-24x18 Original

Boston City Hall

What makes you unique?

I hope I’ve raised the bar for all papercutters. And if I haven’t yet, I still plan to do so.  I sell mostly small simplified silhouettes on etsy, mostly because they are affordable, but my large pieces have 10,000+ holes in them and have been shown in numerous galleries.  Nobody has come close to doing the types of designs I do with nature and architecture.

To see more of Joe’s work:



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