This week, JustArts&Culture talked with Amy Chen ’22, the co-president of Brandeis Drawing Club, on the club’s event “Art of Paper-cutting” last Tuesday.

JustArts&Culture: What was your motivation and intentionsbehind this activity. Do you have any expectations for people participating in this activity? 

Amy Chen:   In this activity, we explored ‘window-flower,’ a form of paper-cutting and folk art that originated in the Song Dynasty almost a thousand years ago. People cut ‘window-flower’ to decorate their homes during the Spring Festival and it became a symbol of people’s best wishes for the New Year. Because I am from China and I think paper-cutting is a very traditional art in China and other Asian countries, such as Japan. In Western countries, I don’t see many people doing paper-cutting or treating it as a fine art. When I was little, my grandparents taught me to do [paper-cutting]. I would love to introduce this art to people and spread the culture from my hometown. It is also interesting to see how people incorporate different elements from the East and the West to create new things.

JAC: What do you think is the highlight of the activity? 

AC: So people just do the art themselves. I gave them a brief introduction on the art of paper-cutting. I assigned them handouts and they could follow the instructions. If they have any questions they could ask me. This is really like a DIY process – they can design all the things on their own and create their create patterns. 

JAC: So the best part would be creating their own patterns?  

AC: Yes. They can first get familiarized with the steps [of creating paper-cutting] and then they can explore how to create negative spaces and positive spaces with paper. This is not solely Eastern art and I combined some Western elements [in the activity]. I included [elements from] certain artists such as Henri Matisse and elements of abstract figures to amalgamate Western elements into this paper art. 

JAC: Are there any difficulties organizing this activity?


AC:   It is just like a regular event we held in the past. But I did not expect that so many people would come. Last semester we held painting activities that were ‘semi-professional’ and only the people who had the experience/skills were willing to come. This time, many people came and they had various backgrounds such as biology or computer science. Only me and some of my E-board members are fine art and art history majors. 

JAC: Can you please share with us your future plan for activities? 

AC: I think we will probably do an ink painting section.

JAC: Like splash-ink?

AC: I think we would introduce some Western artists such as Pollock who splashed oil pigment on the paper. We will also combine elements from Japanese traditional ink painting. People here are more familiar with pencil and oil painting, and we want to let them explore the world of ink painting.

— Jacqueline Wang