Featured Artist Blake Conroy

Artist Blake Conroy uses laser cutting technology to create highly complex, patterned 3D paper sculptures. See more of his fascinating work by visiting his website.

 

“Sunspot, Orang Tang” Cut Paper, 20” x 30” x 3” by artist Blake Conroy. See his portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Sunspot, Orange Tang” Cut Paper, 20” x 30” x 3”

 

The core of my work is made up of large pieces that address my concerns about the environment. I want to express this concern in an elegant way to reach as large an audience as possible.

 

“Field Study, Bikini Atoll” Cut Paper, 20” x 30” x 3” by artist Blake Conroy. See his portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Field Study, Bikini Atoll” Cut Paper, 20” x 30” x 3”

 

I believe if you bludgeon people over the head repeatedly they will not listen. There are a lot of people with big sticks; I want to try a subtler approach. I look for the beauty around us. It could be gone if we don’t pay attention to it. It is not just beauty, it is our world.

 

“Definition of Monoculture” Detail by artist Blake Conroy. See his portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Definition of Monoculture” Detail

 

My piece “Definition of Monoculture” is a panoramic view of a cornfield. I printed/etched the definition of monoculture from the dictionary under the cut out. I dropped out/cut out the letters M O N S A N T O to say, “Do we really want a single company owning the rights to the seeds we depend on? Do we want them playing with them genetically so they are tied to their herbicide products?”

 

“Field Study, Background Radiation” Cut Paper, 20” x 30” x 3”

“Field Study, Background Radiation” Cut Paper, 20” x 30” x 3”

 

My practice is to draw and redraw. When I draw, the images have to hold together as images and they have to hold together as a page.

 

“Field Study, Ode to Jackson Pollack” Cut Paper, 20” x 30” x 3” by artist Blake Conroy. See his portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Field Study, Ode to Jackson Pollack” Cut Paper, 20” x 30” x 3”

 

Because I am cutting through the picture plane, I stack the drawings one on top of another. The viewer sees one image through another drawing of either the same image, as in my larger pieces, or a different image as in my more abstract pieces.

 

“Field Study, Black and Red Algorithm” Cut Paper, 20” x 30” x 3” by artist Blake Conroy. See his portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Field Study, Black and Red Algorithm” Cut Paper, 20” x 30” x 3”

 

I am now using the laser to cut paper instead of hand cutting my work out of brass plate. I spent years working to cut a dozen pieces out of metal with a jeweler’s saw. I even made my own saw because no one made a saw long enough for the pieces I wanted to cut. It was slow work but very satisfying.

 

“John Martin Conroy” Cut Paper, 20” x 30” x 3” by artist Blake Conroy. See his portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“John Martin Conroy” Cut Paper, 20” x 30” x 3”

 

It all changed when my daughter was in college. She got a job in the print shop of her school. She cut out of paper in a half hour what I had spent six months cutting out of brass by hand. I had to try this.

 

“Elizabeth Hollingsworth” Cut Paper, 20” x 30” x 3”by artist Blake Conroy. See his portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Elizabeth Hollingsworth” Cut Paper, 20” x 30” x 3”

 

As I worked with the laser, my pieces became more and more complex. They also became larger. They became too large for the bed of the cutter. Consequently, I had to break them up into panels.

 

“Sunflower” Cut Paper, 23” x 17” x 3” by artist Blake Conroy. See his portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Sunflower” Cut Paper, 23” x 17” x 3”

 

As I was figuring out how to do this and to keep the pages intact, I hung several sheets one on top of the other. That led to stacking multiple pieces cut from the same drawing one on top of another.

 

“Field Study, Penumbra” Cut Paper, 20” x 30” x 3” by artist Blake Conroy. See his portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Field Study, Penumbra” Cut Paper, 20” x 30” x 3”

 

After I completed several pieces in this vein, I decided that I should redraw the same images so that I could get greater depth in my images.

 

“Field Study, Swallowtail Size” Cut Paper, 30” x 20” x 3” by artist Blake Conroy. See his portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Field Study, Swallowtail Size” Cut Paper, 30” x 20” x 3”

 

From cutting metal to using the laser has been a journey of discovery for me. Now I’m coming full circle experimenting with a water jet cutter on metal. I look forward to seeing where this leads.

 

Artist Blake Conroy invites you to follow him on Facebook.

 

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Comments

  1. The most amazing art and technique! Your work is extraordinary Blake.

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