“How right it is to love flowers. … They have been with us from the very beginning.” — Vincent van Gogh
We’re gearing up for spring and flowers are top of mind, which is why we asked British artist and designer Yulia Brodskaya to put a contemporary spin on a famous floral painting: Vincent van Gogh’s Irises.
To recreate this beloved masterpiece, Brodskaya uses her signature cut-paper technique. She carefully cuts and bends strips of paper, arranges them into a composition and glues them in place.
The result straddles the line between two- and three-dimensional art. Look at it once and you may think it’s a flat painting or print. But if you look at the artwork again, you may see a relief sculpture.
In this piece, Brodskaya achieves a wide range of colors and values that are remarkably close to those in the original — just with a twist. The folded paper performs its own type of optical blending, and the outermost strips make for a surprising analogue to van Gogh’s distinctive contours.
Peruse through images of Brodskaya’s process below to see her cut-paper technique blossom into alluring flowers inspired by van Gogh’s Irises. Enjoy!
Creating Brilliant Blooms with the Cut-Paper Technique
Paper in an array of blues and neutrals are cut into strips.
With a few cuts here and some bends and twists there, Brodskaya starts to lay out the paper strips on the sketched out composition.
Tiny clusters of cut paper start to give way to blue, textured petals.
The 2D sketched buds blossom into brilliant, 3D blooms.
With the white vase laid out in swirls of cut paper resting in front of a neutral backdrop and on top of a brilliant, speckled surface, Brodskaya completes the lively floral arrangement.
Both van Gogh’s Irises and Brodskaya’s cut-paper recreation are true artistry. After all, who doesn’t love floral art filled with rich textures and lush colors? If you just lean in, it’s almost as if you can smell the sweet aroma of fresh blooms.
About Yulia Brodskaya
Yulia Brodskaya is an artist and illustrator who uses paper and glue to make lush and vibrant 3D artworks. Her simple cut-paper technique involves the placement of carefully cut and bent strips of paper. She is frequently invited to speak at design conferences and schools around the world.
Her original artworks are owned by Oprah Winfrey, Ferrero, Hermès and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, among others. For more information, check out her website, artyulia.co.uk.
A version of this article, written by Austin Williams with artwork and photography by Yulia Brodskaya, appeared in Artists Magazine. Click here to subscribe.