Santa Barbara in papercut

March 25, 2019

Looking back on the many commissions I did across the years, I spotted a trend in my papercuts. My papercuts were always lush in design but subtle in coloring but last year I noticed my papercuts had more details, more layers, more color - an evolution seen most clearly in this papercut for a wedding that took place earlier this year.
Alexi & Benjie actually contacted me after seeing another beach design I did for their friends, so they wanted something in that same grand scale with multiple layers only they wanted theirs in a lighter color palette. Somehow, from the client's wish for a sunset snapshot of Santa Barbara by the beach (emphasis on the ocean) and all the elements that make up their love story in the city, came out this 11 (that's ELEVEN!) layers colorful artwork. I surprised myself with this one!

This commission couldn't have come at a better time, it was freezing where I lived and I needed to warm up. Santa Barbara looked like a Mediterranean beach town, and a papercut of it deserved all the light-catching colors in my stock.

Alexi & Benjie met fell in love in Santa Barbara. It is their home and a backdrop to their love story so I was worried about capturing it and and all the details that make it special to them, but after a few late night sessions with reality tv playing in the background inspiration struck and I think I did well.

I was lucky that Santa Barbara has Mediterranean architecture so I had a lot of familiar angles to pull from - including that of the sandy beach. The cobalt blue dome of the local Hillel center was a starting point, actually. I decided to frame the wedding text with driftwood after they shared with me that for their first date they went to the beach and sat on a log for seven hours talking (can you imagine that connection)! To balance out the cityscape on the right I filled the left portion of the papercut with sea life - from shells to sunset sailing - with the local fruit and flora bridging the gap top and bottom. Terracotta rooftops, bicycles, palm trees, and roses (Benjie likes to buy Alexi rose sculptures so they always have fresh flowers at the house) completed the design. I especially like the addition of the couple's silhouettes gazing at their vows.

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