I’m a well-known paper artist and illustrator. I use two simple materials-paper and glue, and a simple technique that involves the placement of carefully cut and bent strips of paper - to make lush, vibrant, three-dimensional paper artworks; I draw with paper instead of on it.
My background is in Graphic Design; however I have always had a special fascination with paper and over the years tried a few different paper craft techniques initially as a hobby. However everything changed when I discovered this edge-glued paper technique about 8 years ago - I don't always call it ‘quilling’ because I have actually discovered a new way of using the basic technique - as if I'm drawing with paper instead of on it (traditional quilling is constrained by the use of basic shapes, so it is a bit different). Quoting other people, I made Quilling more cool, modern, gave this old craft technique a new life - it became much more popular after my experiments and also lead to numerous projects and collaborations for various brands from all over the world.
For me there is an irresistible pull to create something, it is a vital necessity.
I’m drawn to colour and I observe nature for inspiration (for both design and colour references); I also explore potential of paper as a medium in people portrait series.
I collect visual references for inspiration, and make little notes/sketches to explore further. Once I form a direction, then it is time for the sketches. In most cases I make very detailed pencil sketches before going ahead with building a 3D paper art because once I glue down a piece of paper I can’t remove it without damaging the background, which means I need to have a good idea of what I’m doing.
The process is really slow though, so there is always room for making certain creative decisions on the way depending on how the artwork is developing. So the ready paper art is never 100% like the sketch, but usually close enough.
There is nothing specific I need to do because my struggle is to find time to create rather than maintain creativity (there are always more ideas than time available). However if i feel that I need a little extra boost I play tv documentaries about famous artists/designers/any other creatives - they are very inspiring and their creativity and passion is contagious.
I always look forward to my next project rather than contemplate the past ones. Having said that, there are several ones that stand out for one reason or another; for instance all personal artworks (such as portraits) are close to my heart because I spend so much time thinking/planning/making them.
There are also commercial collaborations that I have very nice memories from - these are usually packaging projects because it is so nice to present someone with a chocolate box or perfume set featuring your own work on the packaging.
Also Wimbledon collaboration was a really memorable one because they invited me to spend a day watching tennis from the Royal Box, which is a truly unique experience.
For me that was a switch from Graphic design (digital work) to paper art: I just never thought my paper craft hobbies were serious and I could make a living doing something like that.
It took me a while to come to realisation that all things digital is not for me: first I started making hand-drawn illustrations; they were ok, but nothing particularly special.
I knew I’m onto something when I found a way to combine my love of paper with my experience of typography. Interestingly, the first such paper artwork that I made was my name ‘Yulia’ (as if I straight-away put a stamp on this new method I discovered and made it my own); I’ve been using only paper since and can’t see myself going back to digital media.
My all time favorite artists are Gustav Klimt and Isaac Levitan; also Impressionists; I look up to their use of colour, composition and decorative elements (in Klimt’s art). There are plenty of contemporary artists working with paper or paints that I enjoy following, but none of them have a similar impact on me as the ‘heavy weights’ mentioned above for some reason.
I don’t feel any bias of that sort; I think creative expression frees an artist (and for me the word ‘artist’ has no gender). Perhaps I’ve been lucky with my environment/surroundings, so I can only speak about this based on my own experience.
My family/kids; making my art; good food.
To persevere… Like most things in life creative process might not be easy. I might sound happy and positive when I talk about my art, but this doesn’t mean that everything is easy and rosy (there is a frustration, rejection, shortness of time, exhaustion, feeling of being emotionally and creatively drained and so on and on); but I always try to see a bigger picture and remember that I do my work because I just can’t imagine myself not doing it, and sooner or later a positivity comes back.
I’m constantly exploring new ways of working with paper and pushing my technique into new directions. I used to concentrate on portraying old age, at the moment I’m experimenting with younger faces/characters; please feel free to follow the progress on my social networks/website.