My Statement, Story, and Philosophy

I am a Chinese paper-cutting artist.

I am unique and irreplaceable.


When I was in elementary school, I told my mom I wanted to be a great artist, a great painter. However, when my 6th grade art teacher performed using hand to tear a paper into a fish in front of the class and told us that it was paper-cutting, I fell in love with this art immediately. Besides the normal art class schedule, my secondary school also offered us a variety classes for us to take as elective. Without any hesitation, I chose paper-cutting as my elective.  


The class was interesting, we learned the basic pattern meaning, pattern design, and used different kinds of paper in the paper cutting class. However, after a while, I lost my interest, because I was good and most of my paper cutting was chosen by my art teacher to put onto exhibition of annual school culture festival. I became arrogant and I got bored with all the meaningful traditional patterns. 


I did not know why the process of repetition of copying traditional patterns became tedious at that time. I guess I wanted to express myself though art, but I got stuck in copying. When I was in high school, I started trying to design my own pattern at this point, but I failed. I still remembered that the first paper cutting I designed was combined with drawing and watercolor background, and I submitted it to my art teacher for participating some art exhibition. But, my art teacher directly retuned my creation and pointed out that the background was a faulty stroke and made my paper cutting looked awkward. However, my 11th art teacher encouraged me to design my own paper cutting pattens and he submitted one of my work to a paper cutting competition. Who got the most likes, who won the award. Since other competitor’s paper cutting work were all traditional style, it turned out that no one liked my work. Although I failed, he kept encouraging me, and at my senior year I won the third prize of the city annual secondary school art exhibition.


Despite the appreciation from my high school art teacher and won the award from the art exhibition, I still had a vague idea of what is paper cutting until I saw the paper cutting works created by Ku Shulan (more infoin a book. Her paper cutting depict the daily life and her understanding of the things around her. The content is interesting and the vibrant color is eye-catching. I was surprised, excited, and inspired. I began studying the history, the material, the technique, and everything related to paper cutting that would let me have a better understanding of paper cutting and then create my own. And, I found out that traditional Chinese paper cutting is far more than what I had learned from the class. 


The first paper cutting on my website is “The Nature World” (to see the artwork). It is the one that I won the third prize of the annual city art exhibition. My style stays the same. I like using craft knife rather than scissors. I like using Chinese raw rice paper, and I like dying the color after I cut out the patterns. I like colors blending to each other, and the result would not be predictable. I am not afraid of drawing my own patterns any more. Sometimes, I still will creating traditional patterns, but with my own interpretation. For example, “Double Happiness” (click here) and “Year Surplus” (click here) are the classic Chinese paper cutting subject. However, I illustrated them by my own understanding. I respect the tradition, I use the traditional materials and skills, and I create paper cutting with a contemporary looking.

Xin Lu