South Carolina’s Charles Clary often incorporates drywall, found frames and old VHS boxes in his intricate and layered, hand-cut paper sculptures.
The artist: Born and raised in Morristown, TN, Clary received his BFA in painting from Middle Tennessee State University and an MFA in painting from the Savannah College of Art and Design.
A professional cut paper artist more for than 12 years, Clary is also the Foundations Coordinator and associate professor of visual art at Coastal Carolina University (CCU) in Conway.
In the beginning: Clary transitioned from painting to cut paper sculpture in 2007 after walking into a paper store in NYC and realized the possibilities that paper had to offer.
The art & materials: Hand-cut paper sculptures using: high-end scrapbooking paper, a Fiskars ergonomic craft knife and hundreds of #11 X-Acto blades. He often uses 100 blades per month.
- Other materials include: found objects, such as ornate frames and VHS slip cases and boxes. Also drywall and wallpaper.
What is popular: Found frame work ($125 to $6,000) and found VHS work ($100 each). Also the drywall deconstructions ($300 to $20,000).
Other favorites: Installations, including a solo exhibit in Philadelphia, where Clary created an old-school VHS rental store with 1,000 VHS paper sculptures (See image below and a closeup of his video box art at right).
“There’s just something magical about completely changing a space for the viewer,” said Clary.
Inspirations: Many, including:
- Forms found in petri dishes, electron microscope images, archipelagos, computer-generated sound waves and fungus.
- Artists, including: Kara Walker, Sara Sze, Brian Dettmer, Mia Pearlman, Matthew Ritchie, Mark Dean Veca and Bovey Lee.
- His complicated childhood and the loss of his parents in 2013.
Big breaks: Several, including:
- A residency through SCAD in NYC in 2007. “It completely changed the way that I digest art and transformed the work I was making,” said Clary. “It also introduced me to the ins and outs of the art world through my residency with Pierogi Gallery.”
- When late fashion designer Pierre Cardin bought his first large-scale paper installation, and then had him come to Paris for a solo exhibition.
- Winning ArtFields Top Prize, which came with a $50,000 check. ArtsFields is a competition and festival in Lake City, SC.
- Included in paper art compendium books as a leader in the field. Titles include: Paperworks, Paperworks 2, Push Paper and Paper Art Now.
- Receiving emails from students around the world who have been assigned to write about my work for their art class.
- Finished a large VHS installation for a well-known tech giant in California.
- Two faculty exhibitions at the Rebecca Bryant Gallery at CCU (until Oct. 3) and another at the visitors center in Conway (until Oct. 3).
- Recently finished a four-panel, 7.5-foot-by-15-foot drywall deconstruction with 37 openings. Clary will be submitting the work to the 2022 ArtFields competition. It is the largest single.piece he has created.
- Received a grant through CCU to continue the hand cut paper and found frame work series.
- Selected by the 701 Center for Contemporary Art’s South Carolina Biennial for an exhibition, Oct. 7 to Nov. 14.
- Selected to participate in the Shanghai International Paper Art Biennale, where his work was chosen as the poster design for the event. Through Nov. 25.
- Accepted to the Members Juried Exhibition of The South Eastern College Art Conference. The exhibit will be on display at Bolivar Art Gallery at the University of Kentucky, Oct. 22 to Nov. 12.
- A solo show at the William King Museum of Art in Abingdon, VA, Feb. 3 to March 29.
Where to buy:
- Paradigm Gallery & Studio, Philadelphia, paradigmarts.org
- Ro2 gallery, Dallas, ro2 art.com
Get social at:
- Facebook: Charles Richard Clary
- Instagram: @charlesclary
- Twitter: @charlesclaryart