At first sight, it looks like something sculpted in plaster of Paris, but a closer look reveals it to be made out of paper. This is how good is Zai Divecha’s paper art is. She’s a master of creating paper sculptures using paper sheets. Her deft use of creases, pleats, flaps and geometric shapes turn simple sheets of paper into works of art. The beauty of her works gets accentuated by the play of light and shadow.
This San Francisco-based paper artist takes her inspiration from almost anywhere, such as storm drains, peeling bark, bathroom tiles, raindrops on a car window, rock formations and the like. But why choose paper as a medium? She explains it on her website, thus, “Paper is such an ordinary, unassuming material. We come into contact with it every day…we sign receipts, open envelopes, jot down to-do lists. In these contexts, the paper feels mundane and ephemeral, simply a means to an end. With just a few strategic, delicate alterations, I’m able to transform the material into something totally different. I love creating permanent sculptural works out of such a familiar, expendable substrate.”
Zai’s art is not confined to geometric shapes arranged aesthetically but is meaningful too. In her series on HIV/AIDS diagnoses in San Francisco, she compares the data collected in 1992, 2000, 2009 and 2018 by a series of cut flaps that depict the number of cases. Although most of her works included monochromatic sculptures, she’s increasingly drawn towards a single color – white.
According to Zai, the all-white palette allows her to create pattern and texture with just light and shadow alone, which feels soothing to her. She aims to create work that makes people feel centered, quiet and focused. She wants her work to feel like a respite from an overstimulating world. There are a variety of techniques that she uses in her work, such as pleating, rolling, incising and folding. She first creates only one unit and then repeats it hundreds of times to create a larger pattern.
Zai’s Instagram page has garnered over 26,000 followers on Instagram alone. What’s more, her works are up for sale too.
Zai Divecha: Instagram