Forget elaborate sculptures with pricey materials and traditional painting techniques. Two contemporary artists, Elsa Mora and Fabian Oefner, are showcasing ways of using simple paper and ink to make dazzling, colorful artwork that stands out in a crowded field of new art. Though Elsa blends traditional paper crafts with a sculptural sensibility and Fabian mixes art and science to create inspired photographs, both share a strong visual sensibility and a desire to use traditional materials in unexpected ways. Because of these unique characteristics and shared vision, we wanted to take time to highlight these artists' work.
Elsa Mora: Art as Imagination
Elsa is a Los Angeles based artist who was born and raised in Cuba in an impoverished environment. After leaving home, she received an art degree and taught children until she met an American named William Hornberg. They both moved to the US in 2001. Given the struggles throughout her life, Elsa describes her art as follows, "I believe that life, as well as art, have the potential to become whatever we want it to be."
What we find most inspiring about Elsa's work is how she's able to translate two simple ingredients--paper and glue--into sculptural creations that inspire the envy of fellow artists. Though she makes these paper sculptures in all different colors, her use of white with contrasting red creates significant visual interest. Given that her subject matter is imaginative and whimsical, this paired down color palette allows the viewer an opportunity to further imagine what Elsa's art can turn into.
To see more images, check out the great sample of work This Is Colossal has on their website. For those in the Los Angeles area, be sure to check out her new exhibit opening on December 4th, called "About Paper." What other ways can you imagine using paper to create art, especially going into the holiday season?
Fabian Oefner: Science and Art Meet
As his website describes, Fabian was born in Switzerland where he continues to live and work. Unlike Elsa, Fabian has always had a strong interest in art informed by science, having used digital technologies to transform everyday materials like paint into photographed images. These images explore concepts like sound waves or iridescence in imaginative waves.
We are most excited about his Creator's Project, which mimics flowers and reminds us of our favorite ink in water photography. For this paint technique, Fabian fills spheres with different colored paints and drops them into black or white paint, causing the colors to splash out. Capturing these prints at the right moment using a high-resolution camera creates abstract representations of flowers you might commonly find in your garden during springtime.
Fabian also uses his unique blend of science and art to work as an educator, having recently given a talk at TEDx. TEDx describes his work as "stunning visual representations of natural forces." To see more of the Creator's Project images, check out a recent blog post at This Is Colossal. What other things in nature would you like to see Oefner explore through photography?
Though both artists come from different places and approach art in different ways, they both highlight the fact that simple materials and natural phenomena can yield some of the the most thought-provoking art. They remind us to not just focus on innovative print-based campaigns. Feel free to share what work you like best or any other questions you might have in the comments section below.