It’s hard to think of a trend that’s more in fashion right now than cut paper. In celebration of all the cut paper that’s floating around, I wanted to write a little bit more about a couple of trends that I only touched upon in “Running with Scissors,” my article on this subject in the October issue of Print.
One of the most unusual manifestations of the art form is in motion graphics. When you look at cut paper, with its fragility and graphic punch, it has such an immediate narrative quality that it’s easy to see why the art form has translated successfully to the screen.
There’s always been a separate strain of cut-paper work as well, including the unusual style of Michel Ocelot’s “Les Trois Inventeurs” (1980). Though Ocelot continued to use silhouettes in his later work, this 13-minute piece has a beautiful and dainty quality—it evokes the filigree of France’s famed Chantilly lace—that he never revisited, perhaps due to its labor-intensive methods.
And on the complete opposite end of the cut-paper spectrum, South Park, though now computer-animated, actually debuted as a cut-paper holiday video—a far cry from the early shadow puppet shows, which were often morality plays interspersed with violent fighting. Haha, just kidding. South Park, though it might be the bastard child of cut paper, proudly carries on the satirical and jokester nature of all cut paper animation through the ages.