Do you remember making paper people chains in reception? Well, Ellen Schlobohm (a.k.a. Ellen Marie Artistry) takes that concept up to 11 with her elaborate paper designs. In our latest spotlight, Ellen tells us about her creative upbringing, and her admiration for Elsa Mora.
Q: Hello Ellen! Can you please tell us a bit about yourself?
A: I grew up in country SA, and as a child, I spent a lot of time making things. My mum, who is also an artist, always encouraged us to be creative. She taught us to draw, to make jewellery, to sew, to make cards – anything and everything!
Growing up in this environment taught me to use my imagination, to experiment, and to appreciate the joy in creating something. During my last year of high school, I discovered the art of papercutting (meticulously cutting away paper by hand to leave behind delicate tableaus) and have been creating papercuts for the last 8 years.
I am now based in Adelaide, and have spent a lot of time honing my skills. My papercuts have become more intricate and I have started experimenting with technique and scale. I’ve also incorporated screen printing, installation, and jewellery into my arts practice.
Radical Symmetry #3
Q: Who inspires you? What inspires your art?
A: I find inspiration in just about everything! From shapes and patterns found in nature, to fabric, pop culture, and music. My conceptual work is often influenced by a thought or a conversation that I’ve had. I’m also lucky to have many other artists in my life and am inspired by them to push myself creatively and to try new mediums and ways of presenting my work.
Q: Do you have a preferred medium?
A: Yes, this is an easy question – I prefer paper. Papercutting is my main form of art and I love to watch the paper transform with each cut of my scalpel. I also enjoy exploring paper-based installation art and the problem solving that is involved in creating this kind of work. Paper is a medium that continues to fascinate and surprise me.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: My style is very graphic with crisp lines as well as repeating motifs and patterns. At the moment, I’m very drawn to botanicals and have recently had quite an obsession with bugs!
Q: Can you please describe your artistic and creative process i.e.: from lingering idea to putting it into practice?
A: I often find myself mulling over an idea for months, turning it over, and examining it before eventually putting pencil to paper. From there, I sketch my design and work on it until it’s perfected before transferring it onto paper to cut by hand. I also spend a lot of time trying new methods, adding new elements, and exploring framing options.
Q: Where do you see your art practice taking you in the next five years?
A: Over the next five years, I hope to continue to exhibit my work and to push myself creatively. I would love to continue to teach workshops which is something I have been doing for the past year. I love teaching and helping participants realise their own creativity. My dream would be to have a collaborative studio, gallery and retail space that I would share with my mum and sister, who are also artists.
Q: If you could recommend one artist, who would it be?
A: I would recommend Elsa Mora who is based in New York. I first fell in love with Elsa Mora through her works in paper. She often creates layered, dimensional paper works that are a bit whimsical and always unique. I like the way she sculpts the paper and the textures that she creates. I have since come to admire her other artistic endeavours, including stop animation and installation. I am also inspired by her passion for art in her role as Artistic Director of ArtYard.
Handling Time (detail)
Q: What is your favourite gallery?
A: My favourite gallery is actually the Light Square Gallery at AC Arts. I’ve been visiting the gallery since I was in high school, checking out the SACE Art Show. Over the years I have continued to frequent the Light Square Gallery, often supporting my artist friends, but sometimes just to see something new and fresh. The space itself is open and spacious, and I love that you have to go downstairs to see it. This creates a distance from the busy school above and bustling street outside, which helps you immerse yourself in the art.
Q: Where can we find more of your work?
A: You can find my work in Urban Cow Studio and the Barossa Regional Gallery and of course my Instagram is full of my art! I also try to exhibit at least a couple times a year in a variety of places.
Q: What famous passage would you like read at your funeral?
A: At my funeral, I would go with a simple quote by Dr Seuss – Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened – to remind people that life is to be celebrated and that you should cherish the memories of the past, and embrace the joys of the future.