Valentine Louafi – The Paper-Cut Artist
Valentine Louafi is a French graphic designer who became into a full time paper cut artist along the way as gates began opening up for her. Cutting paper is a simple yet powerful medium to share her view to the world through a delicate organic agency of voids, lights and shadows.
Valentine studied visual arts and 2D animated movies at the Higher college of applied arts E.S.A.A.T in Roubaix, North of France. After graduating, she settled in Aix-en-Provence, South of France, where she then graduated from the University Aix-Marseille in practice and theory of the arts.
Her Master’s thesis encompassed the representation of silhouettes in animation movies and shadow theatres, highlighting the work of the German artist Lotte Reiniger, a pioneer in the animation industry, known as the Queen of the scissors.
This thesis deals with the expression and visual transcription of the body movement, through the prism of the silhouette art. This has set the foundations of her art.
Paper-cut artwork is art made of pure lines, lights and shadows, drawn to the essential.
Valentine decided to truly commit to her passion for arts after working as a graphic designer in a company for several years. Being an employee was not satisfying. She felt she needed to take risks to get the life she wished for. Driven by a thirst of freedom and unlimited creativity, she first became a freelance graphic designer, working from home. It has been life changing, giving room to reconnect to her buried artistic soul.
This shift changed forever how she would see the world and how she wanted her life to be.
Reconnected to her ART, HEART and LIFE in general, and after a first exhibition in London in 2016, she decided to fully dedicated her life to where she belongs, and started making a living being a full time artist.
She made paper-cutting her main artistic expression. An ode to minimalism that requires steadiness, patience and an ounce of perfectionism, as “painting” with a blade doesn’t give room to any mistakes.
Her paper-cuttings offer a surgical precision combined with intricate and stunningly expressive portraits.
I always thought that creativity is powered by constraints. With such limited tools at disposal, blades and paper-sheets, you need to be more creative. This pushes me to develop my techniques on a constant basis
Defined as a paper lace-maker, Valentine Louafi made paper-cutting her speciality.
Valentines artwork has always been drawn to the representation of silhouette due to its delicate sharpness. Its complex simplicity and strong contrasted nature evokes endless depth and meaning
Her actual work is not strictly silhouette-like, but she kept the essence, playing with shadows, and building with negative space.
It’s an art of balance and an art of emptiness. To reveal the subject, you need to remove material. To build with the void. To build with the empty space. Void is necessary, in all existing things. From atomic scale to Universe scale. Negative needs positive, light needs shadow.
Her favourite subject is by far portraits. She is inspired by people. Mostly by indigenous cultures from around the globe practicing body art and body modifications, as a ritual, aesthetic or societal purpose. The initial idea was driven by a will to highlight and magnify the diversity of the comprehension of what we call beauty.
Valentine considers it her way of doing her part for the preservation of ancient cultural practices.
Her art is a out of time space where bridges between ancient and new cultures are created, protecting and giving thanks to ancestral knowledges.
Faces are at the core of her art and a key of her imagery. Life marked on the skin fascinates her. Expressions fascinate her. They are home to the sparkle of life scribing itself on the natural canvas. Her cutting techniques reveal an existence carved in a skin, housed within a sight, an attitude etc…She created a cut-out technique able to render the textures and the contrasts made of micro cuttings connected in an intuitive and organically way.
Eyes are her favourite thing to draw and cut. Capturing the soul, pouring into it her own soul, body, mind, heart. And give the resultant blend back to the world
She is seeking to establish a conversation between the observers and the artworks and are meant to engage them to feel connected in a sense of oneness.
Valentine also gives several lives to her original paper-cuts by merging her interest in digital art and new technology with her love symmetry and patterns art. Therefore she creates digital patterns from her paper cuts and uses them as die for laser cutting and engraving purpose.
The creative process is a metaphor of the creation and essence of life itself.