Carlo Fantin – Oakland, California

Instaddictive, hand cut paper, 27_x20_,2014

Instaddictive, hand cut paper,   27″ x 20″ ,2014

Briefly describe the work you do.

I hand-cut portraits out of black construction paper. In my art, I depict saint-like figures surrounded by Catholic iconography and popular media symbols, blending internet culture and religious worship. I manipulate negative space by cutting the paper into a net of squares that vary in size to reveal the form like a re-imagined stained-glass window design.

Tell us a little about your background and how that influences you as an artist.

I grew up in Venice, Italy and lived there for most of my life. My first encounter with art was at early age, when my mother would take me to church. I would lose myself looking at the depictions of icons, saints and demons. I have always loved the simplicity of the design and correlation between symbolism and inner-meaning. My approach to art making is similar, as I represent figures in classic poses and everything within the image has a symbolic meaning.

Collective Imagery, hand cut paper, 37.5"  x 31" ,2014

Collective Imagery, hand cut paper, 37.5″ x 31″ ,2014

The concept of the “artist studio” has a broad range of meanings, especially in contemporary practice. The idea of the artist toiling away alone in a room may not necessarily reflect what many artists do from day to day anymore. Describe your studio practice and how it differs from (or is the same as) traditional notions of “being in the studio.”

I feel very lucky because my studio is in my house and I can be there whenever I have time, at any time of the day and night. My studio work consist of photo-shooting and editing, sketching and hand cutting, experimenting with new materials and new techniques.

What unique roles do you see yourself as the artist playing that you may not have envisioned yourself in when you first started making art?

The role of Sales Agent/Marketing. I always thought that being an artist was about making art, 100 percent of the time. Today the business of art is not just relegated to making it but it includes promoting it, marketing it, and selling it. 

When do you find is the best time of day to make art? Do you have time set aside every day, every week or do you just work whenever you can?

I find myself being more productive when I work in the morning. I, for now, set aside two days a week where I work all day in the studio, but it never seems to be enough time to accomplish everything. Many times when getting ready for a show or a commission work, I end up working weekends and nights. I do research and work on the computer whenever I can fit it in to my schedule so that I am prepared for my dedicated studio time.

(work2) Maria de las Cholas, hand cut paper, 20_x20_,2014

Maria de las Cholas, hand cut paper, 20″ x 20″ ,2014

How has your work changed in the last five years? How is it the same?

My work has evolved from simple and classic portraiture to more elaborate use of symbolisms with much richer inner meaning. A constant in my work is the representation of the human figure.

Are there people such as family, friends, writers, philosophers or even pop icons that have had an impact on the work you do?

My wife has been my biggest supporter, harshest critic, favorite muse and biggest source of inspiration. I probably would have never pursued art if it wasn’t for her encouragement.  

If you had an occupation outside of being an artist, what would that be and why.

I would be making furniture. I earned a certificate in woodworking some time ago because I have always been fascinated with designing furniture and working with wood. I see furniture design as a functional type of art.


headshot 2After artistic explorations in drawing, sculpting, ceramics, and painting, I began experimenting with the art of paper cutting. While paper — a common and easy to relate to material — is often used as a medium to present literary works, I attempt to use it to show my subjects and their stories. Each of my pieces is hand cut, using a craft knife from one layer of construction paper. 

The composition in my pieces is inspired by the Roman Catholic iconographic tradition. Growing up in Italy, my earliest memories of art were of the stained-glass windows and paintings of icons, saints and demons in Basilica di San Marco in Venice. I incorporate symbols from today’s culture along with Catholic images in my paper-cutting.

studio work

studio work

All images copyright of the artist and used with their permission.  


About 365Artists/365Days

The purpose of this project is to introduce its readership to a diverse collection of art that is being produced at the national and international level. Our goal is to engage the public with information regarding a wide array of creative processes, and present the successes and failures that artists face from day to day. The collaborators hope that this project will become a source for exploring and experiencing contemporary art in all its forms.
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