Paper Trickery

Beatrice Coron cuts allegories in silhouette

For the last 15 years, I have been exploring visual storytelling in artist books, paper cutting, public art and wearable sculptures. Collecting memories from individuals and communities and researching clichés, I stage narrative allegories in silhouette to create a dialogue with the viewer in playful fantasies. My goal is to invite the public to pause and bring their own ideas finding personal interpretation to reclaim their imaginative powers. My work is fueled by my interest in creating with my hands, finding unusual juxtapositions in ideas. But when I develop public art commissions, my focus is on communities and getting people involved.

After years of odd jobs (shepherdess, truck driver, factory worker, tour guide) in my native country France, as well as in China, Egypt and Mexico, I reinvented myself as an artist in New York. I was fascinated by paper cutting: the material was easily available and could be used in a flat or dimensional way. I dropped my portfolio for illustrations and created series for exhibitions. I applied to multiple projects and public art competitions. After eight years of rejection, my public art career was launched by a commission to make a sculpture for a fire station in New York City. More recently, I shared the stories about my career and creative process at TED. I keep on creating in an eclectic way, always looking for collaborations and projects. Recent collaborations led me to create an application (“Cut Stories” available on iTunes), a 3D animated movie “Daily Battles” (available on YouTube) and wearable artist books. All aspects of my works as different they might look are research and experimentation in storytelling.

My process of creating, is first to spend some time with a concept. Looking for equivalences, puns, visual references. After a time of “brewing” my ideas, I start to sketch some ideas. Often break through and visual solutions come while I'm sleeping. When my sketch is ready, I cut through it placing sheets of Tyvek (a non-woven material) under it. The process is drawing with the mind of a sculptor as I start with the full material and just take pieces out until the images appear.

My work has been purchased by major museum collections, such as the Metropolitan Museum, The Walker Art Center and The Getty. My public art can be seen among others in subways in New york City, Chicago and soon Los Angeles. During the last few years, I have been working with a developer of low income buildings in the South Bronx creating fences and window guards. Creating functional art in public places is another way to introduce poetry by storytelling in neighborhoods with little or no access to the arts.

Each story that is told brings more stories to life and I believe contribute to reinforce a common identity in communities and a source of inspiration.

For more information, please visit www.beatricecoron.com

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