Nathlie Boutté (http://www.nathalieboutte.com) is a very talented self-taught paper artist based out of Montreuil, near Paris, France, whose work can be described as delicate yet powerful. She creates portraits that are striking, where she uses long narrow strips of paper that are meticulously assembled creating a feather effect that constantly evolves. I’m pleased to share our interview with her and we hope you enjoy it too!
Tell us a little about your background – what path led you to what you’re doing now?
I started to work when I was 20 as a traditional graphic designer. At that time, computers were unknown in our job but rotrings and cutters were my work tools. Most of my job was manual. I have always liked that. Later on, in spite of computer supremacy, I never gave up this contact with paper. It is by far the raw material I prefer to work with today.
What have been some favorite recent projects/clients/collaborations?
I really like my last work “Memories” (below) and this is quite unusual since my relation to this piece has been immediate whereas I often need time to stand back before I can have a look at my work.
How would you describe your creative process?
The creative process is complex because my research is long and I could even say a bit fatiguing and exclusive. My all spirit is dedicated to it. I dream of it and in the morning I start again to work on the pictures I built during the night. But you never achieve exactly what you have in mind. It is never exactly the same. Sometimes, it puts me on quite different tracks and in the end I get a result which doesn’t have anything to do with the creation I had in mind at the origin, but, which is…exactly what I was looking for.
Your work is absolutely stunning — how did you decide that you would go with this technique and how long did it take you to perfect?
As I told you, I have always worked with paper, created origamis, pop ups, kirigamis. I have a dozen pairs of scissors, and as many cutters, all different from each other, scattered around the place (for wanting of a proper workshop). I always have one within reach. There is not a day goes by I do not handle paper. And out of all the techniques I have used, cutting naturally won. By dint of practice I improved and became proficient.
Who is your favorite new artist of 2011/2012?
I really like Georgia Russel, her last exhibition at the Galery Karsten Greve in Paris was incredible. Claire Morgan’s setup also moves me. The piece presently exhibited at La Conciergerie (Paris) is one of my favorites.
What tools/materials do you use?
I do not need a lot of things. A masicot, scissors, glue, and above all paper, of all sorts.
Are you involved in any upcoming shows or events? Where and when?
I’ve been asked to be part of the book ‘Paperworks’ at Sandu Editions (China), I have some other projects under way, but I can not talk about them as yet. As soon as I can, I will communicate on my website. I am open to any proposal.
Are there any particular places that you would love to showcase your work?
Like all artists, I would love to have one day an individual exhibition in a main institution. But the road is still long. Before, I would like to be part of a collective ‘paper artists’ exhibition, I would like to share with them my experience and I love meeting the public.
If you could collaborate with anyone in this world, dead or alive, who would it be?
I do not have any name to give you, beyond the work you admire, working with someone is complicated, it is necessary to meet the person to see if it is possible.
What websites do you use for inspiration?
I surf a lot on the web, I get inspiration on paper websites like, “Strictlypaper” and “Upon a fold” on which I often go. Some other websites like “this is colossal”, ‘illusion scene”, “pinterest”, “stumbleUpon”, but I have also visited a lot of museums, exhibitions, galleries, to see works closer. I also read paper magazines.
What would be your dream creative project?
A very big size format, several meters large!
Is there anything else you would like to share with our viewers?
I would like to tell them, that if they like my work, they can post a little comment; it gives me strength and energy.
Thank you Nathalie for taking the time to do an interview with us, we look forward to seeing more of your work. I would love to see your work in person, hopefully you will have a show in New York soon. To our viewers, be sure to post below with your thoughts and if you know of any artists that work in the realm of paper that you would like to be interviewed be sure to shoot us an e-mail.