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Papercut Series Artist: Interview with Jayme McGowan

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We are huge fans of Jayme McGowan and her work, so it was a no-brainer when we teamed up with her to do a wallet for our Papercut Series. Jayme’s attention to detail is so evident in her work, you can’t help but be in awe of her miniature and dream-like interpretations of everyday life. We conducted an interview with her recently we see who she was, and where her inspiration came from.

When did you really start experimenting with 3-D paper construction?
About 5 years ago – but it took a few years for me to start taking it seriously. I was in college studying painting in a “Fine Art” program at the time and started working with cut paper separately, away from my studies – I actually began working this way in an attempt to quit smoking. The construction method of cutting and gluing, cutting and gluing, over and over – requiring extended periods of focused concentration – turned out to be pleasantly meditative. My very first instinct was to work dimensionally for some reason, maybe stemming from a love of dioramas/shadowboxes. It wasn’t until 2008 when I started posting some of my cut paper work online and began receiving a lot of really encouraging feedback, that I was able to fully see the potential in my unusual form of papercraft.

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Your dioramas must’ve been outstanding in elementary school…
I remember them being about five times larger, and more detailed, than the assignment required! I did love making those – except for the crappy elementary school art supplies. I hate hot glue to this day. I think my best childhood diorama was for a 4th grade history assignment – I built a Native American village with moss, sticks and miscellaneous debris collected at the park- and tiny handmade paper teepees.

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Dream collaborations?
I would love to collaborate on something that uses paper in a way I haven’t tried before – like an all-paper window display or theater set. I’d love to collaborate with an author to illustrate a children’s book someday too. Oooh, and do a stop-motion animation… I’m basically down for anything.

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Your pieces are painstakingly detailed.  If you were commissioned to create an “Aspiring Paper Crafter Starter Kit” what would it include?
You really don’t need much to get started, just a few essential tools: tiny precision scissors, sharp X-actos, a cutting mat, quick-drying glue. And paper of course, but you don’t necessarily have to pay for that. The beauty of working this way is how cheap it is – for years I didn’t even buy paper – everything was made out of found or re-purposed scraps, pages of old books and magazines. The most important thing is the patience and focus to see a really slow-moving project through to completion.

How much of your art work is directly related to your personal life?
Well, I haven’t raced birds in the sky and I haven’t parachuted with cats – I have played a banjo in a tree but it wasn’t some magical ‘Snow White’ type of thing where all the animals flocked to listen to me or anything. I think more than anything, my work is simply evidence of my insane jealously of pet owners. I can’t have dogs or cats where I live so I have to get my pet envy out by making pictures of them.

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What would your personal heaven look like?
Like this, I suppose. Ladders to hop from cloud to cloud… fantastical hats.

What is the most memorable dream/ nightmare you’ve ever had?
Recurring flying dreams, not surprisingly. They’re really more like floating. I just quietly lift off the ground unnoticed and float up higher and higher into the sky very slowly and peacefully. I usually wake up while trying to grab hold of a tree top or antennae to keep from floating up into space.

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What is your ideal workspace?
I’m lucky enough to have a near perfect workspace already… a big room of my own with beat-up old hardwood floors and tall ceilings, lots of widows to let the light in, interesting people bustling past. I can listen to music as loud as I like and the post office is directly across the street. But my studio is an extension of my apartment and it does get a little rough working at home sometimes – a bit lonely and lots of distractions. So I guess my ideal workspace would be what I have now, only in a building with other artist’s studios.

The proudest moment in your life thus far?
Wow, that’s hard to say… taking the plunge into self-employment is something I’m pretty proud of. It was scary at first, not knowing any other full-time freelance artists and not having a ton of support. So I’m proud of myself for being stubborn and trying it anyways – it’s working out well so far. **

You can check our her wallet here! here! and here!
And visit her website here!

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