Paper Cut Tag

Who is She? 27 – Kara Walker

Kara was born in Stockton California in 1969. She grew up there until she went to college at Atlanta College or Art, and later Rhode Island School of Design. She is currently a professor at Columbia in NYC. The first time I saw Kara’s work was at Parsons in New York City while finishing up my BFA there. Her piece “event horizon” caught my eye and it wasn’t until I was taken on a tour of art galleries in Chelsea that I saw an entire show of her work. There I was blown away because I’d never seen someone do art like that. I kept wondering how the hell she got these uppity art folks to let her get down like that, speaking on racism and the treatment of Black folks in such a in your face, no apologies, satirical way. Kara has worked as a painter, but she’s best known for the paper cut outs she’s done. Most recently, her show “Domio Sugar” had hella people I know posting about its use of similar subject matter and the scale to which she took the sculptures. She’s had over 40 solo exhibitions in places like Oakland, Austria, The UK, Spain, Italy, and so many other places across the U.S. 
You can purchase this piece. Email me at 8″x8″ mixed media on paper
Sources: Art 21, Wikipedia,

A Song for Us- New gallery show

Me and the love of my life and co-collaborator on this project have been working non stop for about three weeks now on the production and set up of this show. Now its time to give you an a peak at it and an invitation to see it if you are located in or near the Bay Area.

For this show we took on a method largely influenced by papel picado, cut outs, pop up books, and tunnel books. We got a strong rigid paper, researched, drew, and listened to some of our favorite songs to create these pieces. There are so many songs we love, but we settled on these six songs and created pieces inspired by their sound and/or lyrics.

1. “Blue in green” by Miles Davis
2. “Two Lovers” by Ali Ahkbar Khan
3. “El Desierto” by Lhasa de Sela
4. “Black is the color of my true love’s hair” by Nina Simone
5. “Alabama” by John Coltrane
6. “Good bye pork pie hat” by Charles Mingus

Check out the collage of images from the show and the process, plus some detail shots of the very intricate, detailed, pain-staking cuts we made by hand (no machines or lasers).

TO VISIT THE SHOW: Please go to 2018 Addison Street, Berkeley, California
Special shout out to Greg Moruzumi (Gallery curator) and the City of Berkeley for the opportunity to show our work.

The write up: 
A Song For Us

A new collection of collaborative work 
by Joy Liu and Robert Trujillo

A Song For Us is a collection of papercut art inspired by six wistful songs: Miles Davis’ “Blue In Green”, Ali Akbar Khan’s “Two Lovers”, Lhasa de Sela’s “El Desierto”, Nina Simone’s “Black is the Color of My True Love’s Hair”, John Coltrane’s “Alabama”, and Charles Mingus’ “Goodbye Pork Pie Hat”. Incorporating illustration and traditional papercutting, the two Oakland artists explore loneliness, loss, struggle; and our capacity for love, forgiveness and renewal.

Each of the six musical compositions have been translated into delicately layered landscape portraits, vignettes of sounds, sentiment and space which have stayed with the artists through the years. Like the songs themselves, the pieces weave together line, pattern, space and form the way a musician combines melody, timing, phrase, and rhythm.

Sometimes we play music to forget; sometimes to remember. It is often in empathizing with others’ experience of pain that we allow our own selves to feel pain, and in doing so open our souls for healing and forgiveness. Art can serve as a mirror to society, reflecting our pain and revealing our blind spots. It gives us a landscape in which to experience, express and make sense of our world. So while injustice and destruction continue to shape our lives and histories, constantly imploring us to give up, to be inured to suffering, and disillusioned by power, art can keep our eyes open and hearts softened. The artists are both driven by love — and the insistence that we need to address the anger, disappointment and frustration, but also create and celebrate our own stories of uplift. To conjure creative solutions. To reflect the beauty, resilience, and ingenuity of our people in addition to the struggle. These pieces, like the powerful songs and musicians that inspire them, motivate the artists to keep going, to love, reflect, praise, forgive, and to dream. They encourage us to listen for the bent notes and melodies in our own lives, to pause, to feel, to imagine with renewed hope, and to stay open, curious and inspired.

If my words don’t come together
Listen to the melody
Because my love is in there hiding…

— From Leon Russell’s “A Song For You” (as sung by Donny Hathaway)

This exhibition is sponsored by the Civic Arts Program of the City of Berkeley in cooperation with the Civic Arts Commission.

For more information, including exhibitions and purchases, contact:

Greg Morozumi, curator
Robert Trujillo, artist | | @roberttres
Joy Liu, artist | | @thejoyliu
Civic Arts Commission, City of Berkeley