About Rejas Designs

Contemporary-Scher

Artist’s Statement

Without Scherenschnitte (paper cutting), I would have no way to express the myriad emotions and experiences of my life. I started cutting paper at a young age (high school) and have been doing this art form for more than half of my life. In my daily life, I am constantly drawn to looking for patterns, repetitions and interesting shapes.

When I am in the groove of cutting the paper, there is a oneness with the universe. I do these cuttings when I am sad and feel raw or when brimming with love and passion for the world. In the past, I’ve enjoyed creating them and sharing with friends or family. Today, I feel compelled to bring them into public awareness.

Ray Tuomey, Artist

I have always considered myself an artist, although this is my first foray into making a living from my art. In high school, I had an impactful art teacher named Joseph Whelan. He was so fed up with me and my antics that he handed me a piece of paper and an X-ACTO knife and said, “Cut this out.” I did and he liked it so much he entered it into a contest and I won first prize. It was enough recognition that I continued to create these as my own artistic outlet, therapy and gifts for the next 32 years. From that moment forward, Scherenschnitte became an integral part of my life.

I studied art/art history and politics in college. I abandoned my fine art aspirations when I moved to Colorado in the 1980s and went into performing arts management and radio production. Most recently, I cofounded a successful cooperative solar company in Boulder, Colorado. When that company was in its 10th year, I left to find my next adventure and here it is. I love my partner Elisabeth, my dog Harpo and my friends and family. I love living in Boulder, where I bicycle, hike, fish, create and have an active role in the business community and with non profits.

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The-designs

All of the designs are derived from my head and heart. I incorporate the names of friends and family and significant words, as well as images and patterns that are meaningful to me at that point in time. In most cases, the amount of paper that is removed  (negative space) is balanced with the amount of paper remaining (positive space). While you are viewing it, your eyes are literally being led around the image by the dynamism of the design. The inherent symmetry of the first fold results in designs that are almost always balanced, no matter what is cut out.

NCAR Show September 2014_2

The-Process

I use fadeless art paper. It’s like origami paper and comes in rolls of many different colors. It has a colored side and white side. When cut with a sharp knife, it creates clean edges. I go through a lot of knife blades to make sure I’m slicing and not ripping the paper.

RAY BLUE HAT- HANDS 600-cropt-hands

My process is very fluid. I take in clues from my surroundings, shapes and patterns that intrigue me. I then use my time at the drawing board or cutting table to try to bring some of those complicated 2 dimensional and sometimes 3 dimensional images come to life in my paper. The decision is often about whether the object appears in the negative of the positive and in the case of some of my words and names interlaced throughout, I go back and forth.  And lastly I know when I’m done because the piece has become balanced and has a completeness in and of itself.

artistic-influences

I have always been drawn to artwork that pulls you in with a trick of the eye such as Bev Doolittle and M.C. Escher, who in turn was influenced by the tiles and ceramics of the Moors in Spain. Escher and similar artists create works that convey more than just what one sees at first glance, that force you to pay attention and be observant, yet allow you to carry that into the greater world around you, beautiful and raw.

Celtic patterns are a big influence as well as psychedelic artwork from album covers of the 60s and 70s. I also really love Thomas Hart Benton and his protégé Jackson Pollock, especially the latter’s early work. Kit Williams an English artist, illustrator and marquetry master was a great influence in making art a puzzle to solve, and he obviously loves rabbits too.

 

Custom-Work-Rejas

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Acknowledgements

I’d like to thank my friends and family for their enormous support and love!

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Mtn Dog Media Watermark-01

Russell

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FAQs

Are they woodblock prints? Nope, these are cut paper

How long does one take to create? Depending on size, they can take from 40-50 hours usually over several weeks or months

Do you draw it first? Unless I am doing something that needs to be fit into a banner such as a wedding announcement or a logo, I generally don’t draw the designs first. Sometimes I am inspired or mesmerized by a particular pattern and then I may work out the problem on paper before I start cutting.

Do you use scissors? Nope, I use an #2 X-ACTO knife

Why the rabbit? I had rabbits as a kid growing up and I always loved their qualities–softness, speed, agility and they’re so damned cute. Plus they’re tasty too.

What happens if you make a mistake? Usually the mistakes are part of the finished product. In some cultures and folk arts, craftspeople include a deliberate mistake because the only perfect creations are that of a higher power.