Paper Sculpture by Olga Skorokhod - Abstract Topography

Coming upon the highly textured paper art of Olga Skorokhod is an eye-opening experience. Her work features multiple layers of organic shapes that draw you in. And I do mean work, thinking of the amount of skill and time each perfectly hand-cut sculpture takes to create.

Paper Sculpture by Olga Skorokhod
Lake Powell, 14 x 11 x 2 inches

After experimenting with many different types of art, even while working as a graphic artist as her day job, Olga developed an affinity for representing physical landscapes with abstract and contemporary qualities.

Olga Skorokhod_Untitled_Hand-cut paper sculpture_50 x 40 x 3 in.
Untitled, 50 x 40 x 3 inches

I wrote to ask Olga about her art journey. Her answers are lengthy, but I found them interesting and hope you will too.

I understand you are from Ukraine, but noticed your work frequently captures the landscape of the Pacific Northwest here in the U.S. Tell us about your art background and current work.

Paper Sculpture by Olga Skorokhod - Oregon
Green Oregon, 18.5 x.18.5 x 1.5 inches

Yes, I was born and raised in Ukraine. Currently I’m living in Oregon and the beautiful Pacific Northwest is my home now. Since childhood, I wanted to be an artist. I was always painting, drawing, sewing and making something with my hands. It takes a lot of passion to be an artist; art has no end point of perfection and you must constantly evolve and learn.

Paper Sculpture by Olga Skorokhod - Lake Tahoe
Lake Tahoe, 17.5 x 11.5 x 2.5 inches

I studied six years in art school and got my Bachelor Degree with Honor from a strong academic program in Fine Arts and Decorative and Applied Arts in the Institute of Publishing and Printing at the National Technical University of Ukraine, Kyiv Polytechnic Institute.  I majored in graphic art/printed product design.

Invisible Life Paper Sculpture by Olga Skorokhod
Invisible Life  - detail

For many years I was engaged in the search of my own art style. I tried many different techniques, materials and styles. I moved from classic paintings to abstract paper sculptures. If you look at my early works, you might say they all look like they’re made by dozens of different artists. 
I used to work very hard with an advertising company on commercial projects, and did logo design, illustrated children’s books, and painted photorealistic portraits, landscapes, and still lifes on commission. Sometimes my work day was 18 hours and I didn’t have time for my own art projects.

Paper Gems by Olga Skorokhod
 Paper Gems, 16 x 13 x 0.3 inches

Three years ago a situation changed my life. One day I felt that my eyes were burning... I was losing my sight and could no longer work with computers. It was a very difficult period as I had to give up my job for a pretty long time. My goal was to make others happy with my art so I changed my life by experimenting with paper. I strongly believe that art heals. Now I am much wiser and force myself to take dedicated breaks to rest my eyes.

Paper Sculpture by Olga Skorokhod - Crater Lake
Crater Lake, 20 x 20 x 3 inches

In October 2013 I moved to Oregon to be with my husband. I left all my previous life in Ukraine; language, culture, nature, people and everything was so different for me. It was the same feeling as if you were a kid again, as you must learn how to speak a new language and do many things that you have never done before. Immigration is not tourism; sometimes it is very painful when your family and friends are on the opposite side of the world. I’m so thankful that I’m an artist and I can be busy with creating artworks.

Olga Skorokhod - Studio Work
Olga Skorokhod

Paint and canvas were beyond my budget and I didn’t have room for painting so I returned to paper and blade. I am always attracted to texture and the intricacies of light and shadow. Sometimes I make abstract colored paper works, but white color gives me much more space to implement my ideas. White gives an organic feeling, conveys airiness, lightness, softness and purity.

 Olga Skorokhod_Lava Rocks_hand-cut paper Sculpture_30 x 20 x 1.25 in.
 Lava Rocks 30 x 20 x 1.25 inches

After much experimentation, I found I prefer to work with airbrush 150 lb white paper due to its smooth surface. The main tool for creating my art is a surgical blade. Sometimes I use an old school double-sided blade too.

Paper Sculpture by Olga Skorokhod - Shadow Box
Deep Blue, 6.5 x 6.5 x 1.8 inches

I give depth to my work by using double-sided sticky foam between the layers. The distinguishing feature is the paper edge cut at an angle, as this creates smoother transitions from light to shadow. The paper sculpture techniques give the artwork a greater illusion of 3D.

Paper Sculpture by Olga Skorokhod - Dot Detail
Bubbles - detail

To add color and more depth in sculptures I use colored film between paper layers. All my sculptures are created by inspiration of nature’s fascinating beauty. The Pacific Northwest gives me energy, inspiration and ideas for future projects.

 Paper Sculpture by Olga Skorokhod - Multicolor Dots
Colored Bubbles, 8.5 x 11 x 0.3 inches

Each new project is a challenge for me and improves my artistic skills. I moved from smaller works to works of a larger scale. The first large artwork I made took over a month. It was 12-15 hours of daily work. Now I need only 2-3 weeks. It requires a lot of time and tons of patience, but the final result is worth it. Making art is my full-time job.

Paper Sculpture by Olga Skorokhod - Detail

I also make logos, design books and create photorealistic portraits on commission. My original art is available via Saatchi Art. For people who can’t afford artwork, a mug, phone case, tote bag and more products that feature prints of my work can be ordered through Society6. I really like the idea that an artist has the opportunity to spread his/her art through different products.

Paper Sculpture by Olga Skorokhod - Society 6 Ceramic Mug
Water Portal

My work has been exhibited at shows in Ukraine, Sweden, Hungary, Austria and the United States since 2004 and is in many private collections. Three upcoming shows include The 2016 Small Works Exhibit at the Lemonade Stand Gallery, Key West, Florida, March 18 - April 18, 6x6x2016, Rochester Contemporary Art Center, Rochester, New York, June 4 - July 17, and Chasing Paper, 2016 Lake Oswego Festival of the Arts, Lakewood Center for the Arts, Lake Oswego, Oregon, June 24-26.

Paper Sculpture by Olga Skorokhod - Blue Dot Detail
 inspired by frozen methane bubbles

Thank you for telling us about your art journey, Olga. I find your work fascinating and your reminder to those of us who do such close work to take care of our eyes is so important. The above piece reminds me of biology lab and studying microscopic growth on a Petri dish!

Ann Martin
Ann Martin

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