Cut out for art

Cut out for art

Cut out for art
The art of paper cutting has been growing in popularity in recent years. The process, which involves intricately and painstakingly cutting shapes and patterns out of a single sheet of paper, is a somewhat difficult and even frustrating one but that does not deter diehard enthusiasts. Shamshuddin Shaik is one such person. Having seen some specimens of paper cutting online, the analyst at Thomson Reuters decided to give it a try himself.

He says, “It seemed like a very unusual art to me — something that seemed quite easy at first sight but yet required a lot of concentration and dedication. I started off with small designs at first. I didn’t have proper tools though; in fact, I wasn’t even sure what the proper tools were at that time. So I just used a normal blade. But this becomes blunt quite quickly and one of the most important prerequisites for this art is a sharp cutter.”

Along with the cutter, Shamshuddin makes use of blades, scissors and different coloured chart paper to create intricate figurines and landscapes. It has been more than 8 to 10 months since he took up this hobby and he plans to keep expanding his canvas. “Now that I have gained a little more experience, I want to make some big designs and display these. I am interested in various types of art like coin paintings, sketching, glass art and so on. One day, I will open an art gallery where all my creations will be collated and put on display,” the artist says earnestly.

But passion extracts a price and he pays it in the form of hours of labour. “I have to divide my time during weekends between my hobby and my family. Fortunately, they are supportive and understand that this is a stress buster for me. Depending on the design, I could be hunched up over a paper cutting from anywhere between 10 minutes to a few hours.” 

Landscape and nature-inspired designs are quite complex, explains Shamshuddin. “Things like the branches of a tree or the stalks of grass require detailing. Background is quite important and I have to cut and paste quite a few layers of paper, one on top of the other, to achieve the desired effect. Other designs are usually standalone ones and are therefore much simpler.”

He also does paper cutting of names and these are in great demand among family and friends. It started off as a simple request by one of his friends but now he gifts these personalised artworks and the response has been more than positive.

“People love it. It lends a unique touch to the decor so they frame it and keep it. But again, these designs too require quite a bit of hard work. Intricate detailing inside the letters, some of which can be quite flowery, is tedious but the happiness I see on their faces makes up for the work.”

Appreciation is not limited to the ones who receive these gifts. Shamshuddin’s Facebook page ‘Shams Art and Photography’ is also filled with favourable comments, something for which he is thankful. “I am just learning and at such a time, even the smallest encouragement counts. People have been saying quite nice things and that motivates me to push myself further.”

(Shamshuddin can be contacted on