A Fan of Black

A Fan of Black cut paper art by Patrick Gannon

cut paper

10" x 15" (at the moment) From where do the seeds of inspiration come? I can't answer for anybody else, but each time I sit down to sketch, I seem to pull an idea from a different place. Sometimes I'll have a theme or concept in mind before picking up my pencil. Or I'll do some free sketching, and a character or scribble will leap out and demand to be developed. Other times, the texture or color of one of my papers (or a piece of wood) will lead to an idea.

A Fan of Black, detail cut paper art by Patrick Gannon

Or, as in the case of this ninja fan, creativity springs out of a crushing deadline rocketing down at me. A little while ago, an acquaintance asked me to do an "art performance" at an international gathering she was hosting. I usually work like a hermit in my studio (hence my ghostly pallor), so this was a first for me. I was trying to get about a million other things done to prep (while dealing with a dead printer), so I figured that I would just redo an older piece done large. Unfortunately, Papa Gannon shoved that good 'ol farm work ethic a bit too far down my neck. It rebelled against copying myself.

A Fan of Black cut paper art on gold by Patrick Gannon

Japanese cut paper art was originally used for kimono design and often, family crests. It was one of these crests (a simplified fan) that inspired this piece. The ninja just kinda crept in there, as ninjas are wont to do. Sneaky little buggers. I intended a simple demonstration piece with alot of big, chunky pieces. That didn't happen. In any case, the party went very well and I met a bunch of really cool people. I even managed not to cut off any fingers in front of a crowd. My descriptive wife told me afterwards that I spoke very well, even if I did turn the same color as a cherry tomato. I blame the irish side of my family. Although the cutting is done, I'm still searching for the right backing or background. I was originally thinking of white with a splash of red, but there's something really nice (and subversively traditional) about using a shikishi with the gold circle. This particular board is way too small (thanks, photoshop magic!), so I may need to make my own. Somehow. Or come up with a better idea.