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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Recycling Paper Into Art: Junior Fritz Jacquet

Junior Fritz Jacquet creates sculptures of paper.  The Haitian-born Parisian works in all kinds of paper creating abstract sculptures and human figures, including masks.  His interest began at age 14 when he first learned about origami.  He took to the art medium immediately, and continues to explore it, pushing it beyond its traditional art forms.

Three Men in a Sphere 2, image courtesy of www.origami-kunst.de

He uses glassine paper to make his lamps, which are folded, crumpled, and sculpted and have an internal fiberglass support.  They can be suspended or placed on a surface and contain a low wattage bulb.  They are available in a choice of sizes, and can be ordered from his website.

Monsieur Jacquet has used all types of paper, and thinks that every type has distinct characteristics that lend themselves to their final form.  His job is to merely help them realize that form.  Although he feels paper has a fragility to it, it can be surprisingly elastic and has great texture.  Paper has a tactile responsiveness.

A believer in the 3 Rs - reduce, reuse, recycle - he is an upcycle artist.  That is he gives old items greater value, not less, by converting them into art sculptures.  He counts the Swiss surrealist sculpture Alberto Giacometti and Senegalese artist Ousmane Sow as influences.

The big masks are made with one sheet of white or black Canson paper.
They measure roughly 12 - 16 inches in height, and can be mounted on stands.

He has worked with a wide variety of papers and creates a wide variety of sculptural styles.  One of his figurines he calls Bonhomme Canelle, a whimsical figure made of one sheet of cardboard.  This funny little creature is playful, spontaneous, and humorous.  There are different aspects of him available and he can stand upright on a wooden support or he can be sat or laid down.

What Monsieur Jacquet is perhaps most famous for is his masks, made from toilet paper rolls.  He first focuses on constructing the eyes, then the nose, mouth, and finally a facial expression.  He then mounts these masks to a flexible metal staff with a foot.  The pieces are coated with shellac and sometimes pigments.

His unique technique is still inspired by traditional origami in that he uses one sheet of paper.  But he has taken the art of paper folding a long way.  It will be interesting to see what he comes up with in the future, as he continues to express his take on paper folding.

Images courtesy of the artist's website.