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PAPER CUTS

Every job has its hazards. For Hattie Newman, it’s paper cuts. Given that the London-based set and image maker fashions entire villages made of paper, as well as skyscrapers like the Chrysler Building, snowy mountain ranges with skiing crocodiles coursing the slopes, amusement park rides, spinning windmills, animal heads, and even ice-cream bars, some of which appear to be melting, the inadvertent paper cut is a given of her profession.

“Some people call me a paper artist,” says the young designer from her studio in an old East London warehouse. “I sometimes say I’m that, too, but I also say I’m a set designer who works on still-life pieces.”

Companies and organizations as varied as Lacoste, Canon, Visit Sweden, Transport for London, Gap Kids, and IBM commission Newman to create evocative, realistic, yet decidedly whimsical paper models that, as she says, “live in advertisements,” notably magazines, websites, books, and commercials. Her three-dimensional paper creations, some of which measure a few yards high, often assume an animated quality, through the use of stop-motion photography, whereby her paper boats and cars appear to be coursing waterways and streets. In an ad campaign for Jet Blue Airways, for instance, Newman cut, glued, painted, and built paper replicas of the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco, as well as New York’s Statue of Liberty and Lower Manhattan, in which traffic courses frantically. “We take maybe twenty photographs of the set with the vehicles, each time having moved them a little and putting it all together by hand to create animation.”

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WRITTEN BY DAVID MASELLO
PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPH BY KELLY SANCHEZ 

This story appeared in the Fall 2017 issue of MILIEU.