Paper is Robs canvas
Rob was born 1962 in the city Akrotiri on Cyprus, shortly afterwards, he moved to England where he later studied. First Fine Art at Trent Polytechnic in Nottingham and later print making at the Royal College of Art in London. And even if he is mostly known for his paper cuts, he has always seen himself as a printmaker. He has never worked with another material than paper, not even on canvas like many other artists. Paper is Rob’s canvas, and screen printing is his technique.
– It’s such a broad medium to work with. Nowadays, most people work in layers while using computer programs such as Photoshop or Illustrator, but with screen printing and paper cutting, you can work with layers more effectively, and “for real”. And there’s an end, if you paint on canvas you can keep painting over, and over again on the same canvas, in all eternity. But with paper cutting, there’s only a certain amount of paper to cut away – before it’s all gone, says Rob.
Drawing and painting were the main reasons Rob became an artist in the first place. With screen printing you make stencils out of paper which you later print with different colors. And Rob realized along the way that the stencil, the paper cut, were artwork itself and wanted to highlight them. And to go from painting and printing, to cut in paper wasn’t a big step for the creative artist.
– My work was already based on different shapes and graphic identities, so to simplify it and just focus on one single piece of paper, cutting most of it away and create a silhouette, was in fact not too big of a transition, really. But that’s also how you make progress in your work, through simplifying, improving or making things more complicated. So I removed all other things, like color and tone, shade, even perspective. Just to reduce it all to this silhouette. It was like you took everything and put it into a press and just squashed it down to the simplest ingredient, says Rob.