Interview: Eric Standley


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I’ve seen some fun paper sculptures before, but the work of Eric Standley is just mind blowing. The pieces that look like intricate wood carvings are created from layers of cut paper.

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Eric was kind enough to answer some questions I put to him, I started by asking which of his projects was his favourite.

“My favorite work consistently is the newest work. Or I could say my favorite work is the next work I will make. The pieces take 4 to 6 months to produce, and while I’m working I come up with new questions and possibilities that I cannot employ right away. So when I begin a new work, I urgently pull out all my notes and drawings to bring things to another level.”

Explaining the time taken for each project he said

“The drawing process is by far the most time consuming. Each layer is drawn and cut individually. I have a work called Arch 4 that was started in 2011 and is only 30 or so layers in. At this point each layer is taking 2 days to draw, which makes it difficult to stay with the process straight through.”

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I wanted to find out more about which artists he’s inspired by.

“I really enjoy the work of Wim Delvoye, and respect the absurdity and complexity of his projects. Theo Jansen intrigues me as well. Being witness to unyielding devotion is inspiring in an indirect way- where personal faith trumps all else. You cannot fake true faith in what you do.”

I’ve featured both artists before (Delvoye, Jansen) which perhaps explains why I was drawn to Standley’s work.

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I previously made a fuss concerning Peter Callesen’s use of laser cutting, so I asked Eric, who also uses a laser cutter, whether he thought the use of technology tainted the creative process. 

“Quite the opposite.” he replied “Technology enables innovation and the creative process, provided the conceptual goal is in the forefront of the artistic endeavor. I did not start my work with a laser in mind, but now the tool extends my physical capabilities and dreams.” 

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In his biography he states that he ‘holds allegiance to a faith of his own construction, which is reinvented on a daily basis.’ I asked if given the opportunity he would enjoy constructing his own church in the style of the paper models?

 The scale of the work is fitting to me; to keep the contrast between the massiveness of stone and intimacy and fragility of paper.” So there you have it.

Visit ericstandley.30art.com to see more.

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