Artist 04: Lorenzo Durán

There are numerous types of creative medium, oil paining, sculpture, photography, knitting, countless. I always hold great admiration for the creative types that require serious time, patience and eyesight. Paper sculpting has always been one of my absolute favorites. There are many well-known paper sculpting artists nowadays, but have you ever heard a leaf sculpting artist? Back in July I discovered Lorenzo Durán's ever-evolving leaf-cutting series through Laughing Squid. They really caught my attention and I am grateful for this opportunity to interview Lorenzo.

*Special thanks to Lorenzo's lovely wife for helping us with the English translation.

1. Where are you from and where do you live? 

I was born in Cáceres, Extremadura, Spain. Now I live in Guadalajara, Spain.

2. What inspired you to get into leaf cutting? 

I have always enjoyed the art of paper cutting, especially the ones made in China, Japan, Germany and Switzerland. But the initial thought about leaf cutting was by chance. One day, while I was in the garden, I saw a caterpillar slowly munching on a leaf, at that time, I wondered what would happen if I applied the paper cutting techniques to leaves. After this initial thought, I started some serious practicing and researching. Inspirations may come from anywhere and in my case the real motivation came from that tiny insect. I believe if you take close looks at nature you may find many answers.

3. How do you usually start a new piece? 

Do the leaf shapes determine your project or do you have a mental plan before collecting the leaves? Usually, I pick up all the leaves that I find attractive and suitable for cutting. After that I would visualize an image for the leaf I'm working with. When I have the idea that I think would work, I would draw it on a piece of paper and then fix the drawing on top of the leaf to start the cutting. Sometimes I would go about this the other way around; I would have some mental plans before heading out to the woods for leaf collection.

4. What are the most important tools to work with leaf cutting? 

I work with a couple of simple tools. There are two of them that are extremely important. The first the foremost is a a scalpel with good edge. The other vital element in my work is the leaf press, which helps achieve the flatness I look for in each leaf.

5. What are the most difficult things in working with leaf cutting? 

The most difficult thing for me is to work on some geometric motives, some of the lines can be so thin that any sudden move could make them break in the last minute. I am also now trying a new project that's difficult, which is carving human faces on the leaves. I must also say that there are so many possibilities in leaf cutting and I believe it is an artistic field yet to be explored.

6. Besides these intricate art work, what else do you do for fun and for inspiration? 

I like painting, sculpture and illustration; actually I consider myself a frustrated cartoonist (mainly of comics).

7. What is leaf cutting to you?

First and foremost, I feel very lucky because I am doing something I really like. On the other hand, I am learning a lot from people with my project Naturayarte, to trust above all things. I keep a happy and open mind everyday with the idea of asking the buyers to name their price on my work. All of these experiences push me to learn about myself and about people which is a beautiful gain.