Cutting Edge


It is through destruction that Jarek Sparaco creates his most distinctive paper sculptures. The process begins with a drawing, usually a pattern on paper, before he cuts the paper up.

“Cutting it up doesn’t always preserve it in the best way possible,” Sparaco says. “The image will become distorted when it gets bent forward and backward. The cuts themselves just create this little space in between. It’s a bit of a destruction to the image itself, but I’ve come to view it also as a creation of an entirely new thing.”

Sparaco, who attended Maryland Institute College of Art, started this type of work a few years ago when he took a class on illusionism. He learned to make art that tricked the eye, such as drawings that looked real, and wanted to take the class a step further by incorporating three-dimensional elements. Rather than tricking the eye into thinking the paper sculptures are real, the illusion is even more subtle: The sculptures present something different, depending on the viewer’s angle.

The sculptures also vary in size and style. Some are relatively small and organized within a frame, while others stretch and undulate across a room. Sparaco used to drop his early sculptures on the floor when finished, to determine the final layout.

One series is called “The Colors You Gave Me.” A friend with synesthesia listened to songs and sounds and created a digital file of the colors she saw. Sparaco then took the file and recreated the images with paint, taking some artistic liberties, before cutting them into his sculptures.

This year, Sparaco’s work was featured in a show at the Carroll Arts Center in Westminster.
“On a surface level, I’m really going for just creating an illusionistic effect,” Sparaco says. “I’m just trying to have the image vibrate.”

> To see more of Sparaco’s work, visit

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