At first glance, you might struggle to guess what material Michael Velliquette uses to create his intricate sculptures. His pieces seem like small-scale architectural wonders where you have no idea where to start looking, but each entry point leads to endless exploration.
“I like there to be something everywhere that the eye rests [on] that sort of engages you or pushes you to the next thing,” Velliquette says.
What makes each piece even more fascinating is the fact that every stacked structure, every circular gear-like piece, every shape, every layer and every accent is made out of heavyweight cover stock paper. Using glue, paper and various tools, Velliquette spends hundreds of hours — he says on average 500 hours per piece — putting together his fine art monochrome paper sculptures for gallery shows around the country.
A classically trained artist, Velliquette graduated from Florida State University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1993 and from the University of Wisconsin–Madison with a Master of Arts and Master in Fine Arts in 2000. The Florida Gulf Coast native then moved to various places, where he practiced mixed-media sculpture and created large-scale installations before returning to Madison to teach a summer course at the university in 2005. He met his now-husband — Tehshik Yoon, a UW–Madison professor of chemistry — that summer and officially moved to Madison for good in 2007. He still works with UW–Madison as a faculty associate in the art department along with maintaining his private art practice and showings.