Angie Pickman is a Lawrence, Kansas cut paper artist and graduate of the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. The silhouette animation of artist Lotte Reiniger and Angie’s love of nature inspired her to create a technique combining traditional paper cutting with collage, resulting in detailed and intricate pieces depicting wildlife. Angie also does illustration, animation and design work and teaches various art classes and workshops. Pickman's artwork is on display at the Shawnee Library until April 21, 2022.
Tell us about the works on exhibit. What’s the medium?
I work in the medium of hand cut paper. Each work is made up of one or more papers that I’ve cut out by hand with a craft knife. One of the papers that I primarily use for the main subjects is charcoal drawing paper. I also use art tissue and recycled maps and atlases. To give the maps color, I paint them with a wash of acrylic paint before I cut them out. After I cut them out I use both bookbinding glue and acrylic soft gel to glue and collage them together.
What influences your practice/works?
I’m mainly influenced by nature and being present in nature. By being fully present in nature, you get to experience more of it with a keener eye and with more of a childlike wonder. My hopes are that each piece takes you to a place with that same feeling of wonder. I’m also highly inspired by Scandinavian design, children’s books and animation.
Do you have a favorite piece?
I have different favorite pieces on different days. As I answer this, my favorite piece in the exhibit is probably Travel Light. Besides enjoying the depth that is achieved with the colors and composition and layering, I love using the symbolism of keys to signify finding an answer to something. The fox in this piece sits with a presence that symbolizes its knowledge of and connection to nature. It has sent off these keys with the moth as answers to one of the ultimate questions that I’m sure we all have involving what we need in life. The answer is in the title: Travel Light. We don’t need to journey through life with tons of physical and mental baggage. The best way to achieve the presence and knowledge of the fox is to do just that - travel light.
What wisdom or insight would you share with your past self if you could?
To trust my dreams. And I’m happy to say that I have, but it took a lot of sweat and tears to finally believe that. I was pretty convinced that I could not make a living as an artist because of the whole “starving artist” belief that our culture tends to hold, and so for a long time I didn’t even try. I did other things that I thought would lead to someday supporting me making art. Instead, I found out what hard work really meant and decided that if I was going to work that hard, I should at least be working that hard doing the thing I love.
What is your most important artistic tool? Is there something you can’t live without in your studio?
I can’t live without my cutting tool which is an x-acto knife. In fact, the one I use is the same one I’ve been using for probably the last 8 or 9 years. It has a rubber coated handle that I’ve had to hold together with plumbers tape. It just sort of fits into my grip nicely. I just don’t like using any other knife. It uses replaceable blades of which I go through a couple hundred a year, probably.
What books, movies and/or music have inspire you recently?
I love to read, but this last year has been so incredibly busy with work, luckily, that I haven’t had much of a chance to do anything but work. During the winter months, my favorite movie to watch is Emmet Otter’s Jug Band Christmasby Jim Henson, and I recently bought the children’s book that inspired it by Russell and Lillian Hoban. It is such a sweet story. As far as music, I always enjoy and am inspired by the amazing guitar work of my friend Michael Gulezian. We’re hoping to find the time to collaborate on a paper cut animation soon.