Artwork of the Week: The Paper Art of Li Hongbo

Source: Patrick Blanchier

The Art: Contemplation
The Artist:
Li Hongbo

Everyone who designs and publishes books for a living must love paper to some degree. Few, it can be imagined, love it as much as Li Hongbo.

This love originated in a fascination with the paper decorations that have adorned Chinese festivities for centuries. Formed from only one or two sheets of paper, the number of shapes these decorations could take was limited only by the crafter’s imagination.

Hongbo, a former designer now full-time artist, has taken this traditional style to an unprecedented level. In his workshop, the artist spends his day shaping sculptures out of paper. While his subjects are often mundane – the kind you would often walk past without giving them a second thought – the end result is anything but.


Carefully formed from up to 20,000 individual pieces of paper – a process that often takes months – Hongbo creates art that flows like water. It’s intricate, delicate, flexible, and awe inspiring.

Sculpting such work requires great patience and foresight. If the shape is not exactly right, the effect is lost. If the structure is not sound, the piece will not remain standing after being contorted.

In the video below, Hongbo takes viewers step-by-step through his process. It’s a wonder to behold, and a must-watch for anyone who is looking for some inspiration to keep focused on creating their own great work.

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