The joy of creating with your hands

Whether paper, egg-shells or old bread – whatever Kyle Bean touches turns into art. In our movie, he talks about his pleasure in creating things.

Kyle Bean

“I’ve loved making things ever since I was a child,” explains Kyle Bean. “At university, I became frustrated with drawing and painting. There was also a lot of illustration created entirely digitally, but I wanted to get back to creating something physical.” Paper was the student’s material of necessity, but it soon became his medium of choice: “It’s liberatingly versatile and comes in so many colors. Because it’s accessible, you can experiment more.”

And so, he founded his career on this material, however, has evolved much from there. Discover this truly creative artist, his work, his view on making things and see the artwork he created for Victorinox.

Craftsman, paper artist or tactile illustrator?

It’s difficult to pigeonhole a true maker, and Kyle Bean is no exception. Bean has collaborated with Victorinox to create a diorama of the Swiss landscape out of interlocking layers of paper that represent the iconic Swiss Army Knife and the workings of a Swiss watch. It’s featured in the movie below as well as in the attached PDF that allows you to make your own with.

Kyle rejects the title ‘craftsman’, saying, “I feel that’s someone who specializes in a particular material or process.” And, as a creative entrepreneur who works for fashion houses, major brands and global publications, he’s also been reluctant to accept the label ‘artist’. What he is, specifically, is a ‘tactile illustrator’.

Traditional crafting and leading edge technology

Bean’s work echoes the deep history of the art, which runs from Chinese paper-cutting and Indonesian shadow theater, via intricate, lace-like Swiss Scherenschnitte folk art and Victorian silhouettes, to today. But he is no traditionalist Luddite throwing scissors into the machine. “I use the technology that helps me realize my ideas. For the actual cutting, I prefer to use a scalpel – I like the accuracy of hand-cutting – but I also use Adobe Illustrator to finalize designs, and have a cutting plotter to print out the shapes. And I’m now exploring combining paper with 3D printing.”

A look at how a maker works

Join Kyle creating a diorama of the Swiss landscape out of interlocking layers of paper that represent the iconic Swiss Army Knife and the workings of a Swiss watch and experience a true maker in action.

Collaboration is also a key part of Bean’s methodology. “Because much of my work ends up as an image, I value the input a photographer can bring – for example, lighting to maximize the tactile effect. And I’ve worked with people who have expertise in large-scale construction or creating models for animation.

I’ve built up a network of other makers, which makes a project better than if I worked alone.” Bean’s collaboration with Victorinox is as innovative as it is obvious. His model of the company’s Ibach factory uses the Japanese kirigami technique. How to make one yourself is easy, too. Kyle has maped out all the steps necessary in this PDF.

Kyle held a workshop – at a Victorinox event

Kyle was hosting a paper-cutting workshop at Wilderness in Oxfordshire in the UK this summer, giving festival-goers the chance to be a maker, too. Would you like to stay in the know about our events and collaborations? Sign up for our newsletter and join us on Facebook and Instagram.

An homage to Victorinox: Kyle Bean for Victorinox

Are you inspired to become a paper artist yourself? Download Kyle’s papercut model and get crafty. And don’t forget to share your art work with us on Facebook and Instagram.

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