Our December artist of the month is the talented [Associate Faculty] Michael Veliquette. The USA based artist creates incredible paper sculptures
Where do you make your paper Art?
I’m based in the US and have moved around quite a bit during my life. I began my career as a young artist in the early 2000’s while living in San Antonio, Texas and that’s where I first started working with paper. I’ve lived in Madison, Wisconsin for the last 12 years. For those unfamiliar with the state of Wisconsin it’s in the northern middle of the US. I’m about 3 hours north of Chicago. Madison is the state capitol and a big university town. I have my studio here and also teach at the University of Wisconsin.
How long have you been working with paper?
I began my investigations into paper art about 15 years ago somewhat accidentally, as I was using paper models as studies for larger installation work. Over time, I became more interested in the ability of this single, simple material to encapsulate all of my formal and conceptual interests by itself. Paper comes in endless textures, colors, and weights. It can be used in multiple dimensions. It’s easy to handle and to manipulate, and it’s available virtually anywhere. It’s inherently ephemeral, but given the right conditions, it can last for centuries. It has been used in all aspects of human civilization, from record keeping to ritual, architecture, and communication.
How would you describe your approach to paper art?
My early paper pieces were image-based. Throughout a period spanning ten years and over two hundred works, I investigated paper-crafting traditions from around the world and integrated them with my own wholly unique techniques. Over time, my work has become less tied to pictorial schemas and less concerned with representation than with process.
My current approach has become more improvisational: instead of relying on drawn studies, I simply allow works to accrue cut-by-cut and piece-by-piece. This handcrafting process is slow — depending on scale, finished works can take up to five hundred hours to manifest. This results in the production of fewer individual works, but each piece invites a greater wealth of interpretations. They can be displayed both horizontally as sculpture in the round or vertically as bas-reliefs. I encourage their investigation from multiple perspectives, both visual and conceptual.