Fluorescent Paper Sculpture - Caro Clarke of INKTERAKTIV

Today we're traveling to East London where we'll get to know urban paper artist Caro Clarke of INKTERAKTIV. She and I met via Instagram where I was immediately taken with her on-edge sculptures, murals and installations for which she often utilizes vibrant fluorescent paper.

 

side view of on-edge white and red fluorescent paper art
 

I asked Caro to describe her art:

 

My work emphasizes the delicacy of paper versus its architectural structure within a minimalist setting. I draw inspiration for my pieces from the urban landscape and my travels, as well as a love of neon lighting, typography, architecture, and geometric patterns.

 

double heart outline on-edge paper art in fluorescent lime green, blue and red 

How long have you been interested in paper as your primary medium?

I was born in Paris and raised all over the world so creativity and art were my constants growing up. Paper became the most common and easily accessible material from an early age. 
 
At university, it initially seemed that I was leaning towards a career path dealing with paper making, book binding, printing techniques, and packaging. However, a programming and animation course changed all of that and the digital commercial world took over for about twenty years.
 
Just Be Nice on-edge paper art lettering
 
What brought you back to making art in a physical sense?

After a serious medical ordeal that resulted in my being hospitalized for six months followed by years of physical rehab, I had to rethink where I was in my career in my early 40s.

I remember sitting in my therapist's office talking about how lost I was and how I felt no attachment or meaning to what I used to do as a Creative Director. I didn't want to sit in front of a screen anymore. I didn't want to work for other people. My therapist reminded me that I was a very creative person and that a creative outlet was a healthy way to deal with trauma and anxiety. 
 
on-edge white and hot pink fluorescent paper art hallway installation
 
I went home that night and started looking through my portfolio. I came across the work I did when I was studying fine art... a lot of it focused on making my own paper and illustrating and doing traditional Japanese paper cuts. I had completely forgotten this love of paper. It was like a light bulb went off! And so I began exploring it again. This was 2016.
 
framed on-edge, fluorescent paper art composed of rounded corner rectangles, and a centered hand waving alongside word Hi
 
Between developing a new voice with paper, trying new techniques, and learning about the craft of paper, I started spending more and more time in my studio. I joined collectives, did group shows and began putting my paper art out there a bit more. In January 2020 I went full-time as an artist and also took a small course in paper quilling. And that's when everything just clicked. 
 
Though I appreciate the traditional paper quilling techniques, I began cutting my own paper strips, choosing a more structured paper weight and seeing how far I could go sculpturally. Three years on, and between a pandemic and numerous medical issues, I am still doing what I think I was always meant to do.
 
framed fluorescent, vertical stripes on-edge paper art
 
Paper is a natural material that speaks to me in ways no other creative medium ever has. I feel honoured combining my ideas with such a powerful entity. With my work, I am trying to express the contradiction between the natural organic world and the more structured urban scenes I have always found myself attracted to. And who doesn't like a bit of fluorescence in their daily life? 
 
circular INKTERAKTIV brand logo with fluorescent red angular letters
 
Do you recall your first piece that was inspired by this new-found quilling technique?
 
Quilling my Interaktiv logo was probably the first project I worked on that helped me establish my signature style.

wall display of framed on-edge geometric fluorescent paper art
 
Tell us about your favorite supplies.


GF Smith has some of the best paper out there and I love to start my day in the studio flipping through the company's many color choices... this gets me in the right mindset and gives me ideas for future projects. 270gsm is my favourite paper weight.

 

I use PVA glue and I prefer a scalpel over scissors because as a lefty, it's tricky to find a comfortable pair. For the most part I use Swann Morton #11.

 

When it comes time to frame a piece, I like Perspex acrylic boxes. (See Caro's framing process on Instagram.)

 

on-edge paper art overlaid on digital design of Queen Elizabeth's head

And your process?


I start with a few drawings and play with colours in my sketchbook. I refine the work in Affinity Designer or Illustrator on the iPad. One of my reasons for leaving commercial design behind was to spend less time in front of screens so I try to limit this part of the process when possible.

I then print a template for my desired size and start playing. What is nice about having a digital version of the final piece is I can make mistakes and carry on. I spend a considerable amount of time on the final piece. This is where my perfectionist gene tends to take over. The framing process is just as exciting as it's that final reward to see the project come together.

 

 small square framed on-edge rainbow colored fluorescent paper art diagonal design

 

When is your next show?

 
In London from February 2, 2023 - "It's All Fun & Games Until..." at Kill The Cat Bottleshop and Bar.

I'll also have work at TheOtherArtFair presented by Saatchi Art in Los Angeles at the end of March.

 

Fun fact?

 

My fluorescent art glows in the dark with a black light!


seated young blonde woman wearing dark frame glasses, sage green top with dangle earrings, necklace and bracelets 

Caro Clarke of INKTERAKTIV

 

Keep up to date with Caro's latest projects, classes, and shows via Instagram.




Ann Martin
Ann Martin

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