Brodskaya’s pieces draw form a longstanding art form that was reserved for women in the past. Quilling has been practiced since the Renaissance, and it traditionally used repurposed strips of paper that were cut from the gilded edges of books. The paper ribbons were then spun into simple shapes like flowers or decorative coils. Quilling was considered an un-academic art that was practiced by ladies of leisure.
Bucking the chauvinist associations of quilling, Brodskaya’s massive, multi-layered portraits challenge the art form’s simplistic associations. The trained graphic designer became interested in quilling due to a fascination with the medium – she’d kept a collection of vintage papers to use for collages and as backgrounds of her illustrations. Having practiced quilling as a child, she refined her practice to create the complex works she makes today, which she calls “paper graphics.”
Scrolls of colorful paper ribbons are bent and swirled perfectly to form words and textures, with no margin for error. The paper edges are held into place with a thin strip of glue, and Brodskaya builds up layers until she feels each image is complete.
Since her pieces are very exact, she must draw sketches before setting to work – once a paper scroll is glued, there is no going back! Commercially, her whirls and furls have graced ads for clients such as Cadbury, Hermes, Target, and countless others. Now that she has mastered her craft, she has begun a series of portraits that illustrate her paper graphics process with much more detail than her commercial work.
+ Yulia Brodskaya
Via This is Colossal