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Babushka, paper/card, technique: paper quilling.


Loves Doves, paper/card, technique: paper quilling.

Artist: Yulia Brodskaya, London, England

Interview 62

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Interviews published by Gareth Bate & Dawne Rudman.



Yulia Brodskaya was born in Moscow, Russia.  Prior to moving to the United Kingdom in 2004 she was interested in diverse creative practices ranging from Textile Painting, Origami and Collage to more traditional Fine Art practices. Following an MA in Graphic Communication at the University of Hertfordshire in 2006, she continued to experiment and explore ways of bringing together all the things she likes most: typography, paper, and highly detailed hand-made craft objects. She has swiftly earned an international reputation for her innovative paper illustrations and continues to create beautifully detailed paper designs for clients all around the world. Yulia's Website


Artist: Yulia Brodskaya


Tell us about your work?

My work uses a technique called quilling, whereby strips of paper are curled around a quill (or pen or pencil, I use a cocktail straw) and then the resulting loopy shapes are stuck onto a background surface, standing on edge. Using a variety of colours, I use the quilled strips to construct imagery and type to achieve the effect, which has a unique, 3D tactile charm to it.


Firmenich, paper/card, technique: paper quilling.


From where do you get your inspiration?

Sometimes a sheet of paper can be a source of inspiration. If I manage to find some new unusual paper or card, I immediately begin to imagine the new ways of using it in my work.


Jungle Bird, paper/card, technique: paper quilling.

PURE, paper/card, technique: paper quilling.


How did you decide on this medium?

I started making the papergraphic illustrations about three and a half years ago. I was planning to create a small brochure with my hand-drawn illustrations to be sent out to potential clients and I was looking for an eye-catching typographic image with my name 'Yulia' for the cover. I created a number of hand-drawn variants, but I didn't like any of them. Then I remembered the 'Quilling' technique that I once used for a school project, quite a long time ago. The first 'Papergraphic' image I made was 'Yulia' - it was a starting point for my experiments with paper quilling. The brochure with the work samples was never published, as I really got into the 'paper work'. Now when I think back, I realize that I've always had a special fascination for paper. I tried origami and collages, but the Quilling technique turned out to be 'the one' for me. After all this time I'm not tired of it at all and eager to keep rolling paper strips.   


Babushka, paper/card, technique: paper quilling.

Light and Stages, paper/card, technique: paper quilling.


What other mediums do you work in, and how does this inform your work?

Nothing else interests me at the moment, just paper. I believe that one of the main reasons I enjoy the paper craft, is due to my love of the material: paper. Although I've always had a special fascination for paper, it has taken me a while to find my own way of working with it. It took a little longer to find out that the technique I had been using so intensively was called quilling. I'm still interested in it and not ready to move on to anything else.



Loves Doves, paper/card, technique: paper quilling.

Light and Stages, paper/card, technique: paper quilling.


What specific historic artists have influenced your work? 

I think the only historic artist I can name is Gustav Klimt (well-known Austrian painter). I'm most influenced by Klimt's 'Golden Phase' - many of his paintings from this period used gold leaf. I always admired the decorativeness of these works, the ultimate development of ornament and high level of intricate details that form the whole picture and make it so fascinating to look at. In my work I aim to achieve a similar thing.


London, paper/card, technique: paper quilling.


What specific contemporary artists have influenced your work? 

My background is in Graphic Design so none of the contemporary artists have influenced my work, whereas my degree in Graphic Design got me interested in typography. I incorporate lettering in many of my works, especially commercial (commissioned) projects.


Cadbury, paper/card, technique: paper quilling.


What role do you think fibre art plays in contemporary art?

I think it brings the feeling of something 'real', warm and handmade – all the qualities that are associated with the term craft. I think fibre art is a kind of a blend between the traditional craft practices and contemporary art.


Bon Appetit, paper/card, technique: paper quilling.


Can you talk a bit about the commercial viability of fibre art?

For me it is all about the commercial aspect at the moment. Probably once again, this is something to do with my Graphic Design background. 95% of my projects are commissioned work that is used in advertising and in an editorial context. Handmade art is in fashion right now and I believe this will have an impact on the commercial viability of fibre art, whether it is used for visual communication or as a work of Fine Art.


Didi Cover, paper/card, technique: paper quilling.

Target Gift Card, paper/card, technique: paper quilling.


Do you find it more difficult to show and sell your work than non-fibre artists?

My situation is very different; I don't sell my original works, I create the works for specific projects and my clients use the photographs of the paper works for their purposes (e.g. magazines, advertising campaigns, etc).



I'm dreaming of..., paper/card, technique: paper quilling.


When you were a child, did you want to become an artist?

My parents sent me to an art school when I was 6 years old, so I started to practice art before I had a chance to consider my career options. No regrets though, I suppose this is a case of spotting the right tendency in a child very early.



Metlting, paper/card, technique: paper quilling.


Please explain how you developed your own style.

I think it came naturally - I never learned the traditional Quilling technique (it uses different paper; there are also tools that I never even tried to use). I just took a cocktail straw, a small cocktail stick and started to shape paper strips in a free way as if I were drawing with paper. I never limited myself to basic shapes that the traditional technique uses. 


Nature, paper/card, technique: paper quilling.

Noel, paper/card, technique: paper quilling.


How does your early work differ from what you are doing now?

Before Paper Quilling I mainly drew by hand with a thin black pen or markers, so the sole use of one material (paper) was a completely new and different thing for me. Now I can't imagine myself not using paper as a main element in my work.  


Where Wishes Come True, paper/card, technique: paper quilling.


How have your expectations changed over the years?

They definitely have. In the beginning I couldn't even imagine that my paper works would become so popular. I don't make any particular plans now, I'm just curious to see what happens next and where else my work will take me. 



Yulia at work,

Havas Creation Poster, paper/card, technique: paper quilling.


Tell us about your studio and how you work:

I work from home; in my studio I have a table which is the main working surface and a few paper storage units, I use some of them to keep pre-cut strips of paper of various colours, others are filled with uncut paper sheets and piles. I also use a computer during the sketching stage.



Buchanan Galleries, paper/card, technique: paper quilling.


What project has given you the most satisfaction and why?

All the self-initiated works. At the moment I really struggle to find enough time to work on personal projects and I really enjoy the days that I can dedicate solely to my own ideas and not commercial tasks.


Love, paper/card, technique: paper quilling.


If a good friend were to describe your style, what would they say?

Intricate, colourful paper art.


Where do you imagine your work in five years?

Hopefully I still will be interested in the material and technique that I use now, or at least find something else that obsessive.


Vanity Fair Cover, paper/card, technique: paper quilling.



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Interviews published by Gareth Bate & Dawne Rudman.


Spring Arts, paper/card, technique: paper quilling.