Nikki Panganiban Deschamp – Artist Interview
“I want to combine lots of paper styles to show to the world what paper can do.”
Our artist of the month is Nikki Panganiban Deschamp. Primarily specialising in paper art through the medium of edge quilling, origami, paper craft, paper cut and miniature paper art, Nikki really has done it all!
Read on for our November Love Paper artist feature:
What Type Of Art Do You Do? (Or How Would You Describe It)
I would like to call it paper art in general as I mostly combine a couple of different paper techniques like on-edge quilling, papercut, papercraft and origami that don’t particularly fall into a particular paper style.
I’ve been doing on-edge quilling for a while now then I’ve recently moved into doing miniatures. I almost just use paper and a bit of paint or pen if needed. I don’t want to lock myself into a particular description as I keep on moving from one style to another. I used to call myself a quilling artist, but now I’m doing miniatures, instead of calling myself a miniaturist I just settled for ‘paper artist’.
What Originally Drew You To Creating Art With Paper?
I first fell in love with paper when I was 10 years old making origami fish. I got stuck on a particular step and couldn’t complete the model if I wasn’t able to do the next step. I finally moved on by accident and kept on wondering “How did I do that?”.
Since then, I kept on experimenting with making origami. Growing up in the Philippines we used to improvise a lot and paper, newspaper and cardboard are the most accessible material of all. I’ve been doing lots of paper crafts and I’ve also encountered quilling, I don’t have a quilling tool so I made one myself using a bamboo skewer and tape for all for these were just for fun really and not something I’d eventually take seriously, let alone become a paper artist.
I tried to draw and paint but for some reason, I find it so intimidating and drives me to get things perfectly.
Can You Tell Us About Your Creative Process, What Are Your Biggest Artistic Influences?
I usually get inspired or excited to do something I’ve seen, and I try to replicate it exactly or add my own personal touch to the art. I let this obsession marinate in my brain. Mostly when I go for a walk, ideas pop up on how to turn it into an art. I try to take note of that idea and test it to see if it works or not
Most of the time I make it as I go, and I have a rough idea in my mind, but it keeps on evolving until the art is finished. Recently, I’ve just learned to trust my instinct and know when to stop.
My greatest inspiration of all is Yulia Brodskaya as she was the one who ignited my interest in quilling. I am amazed and inspired by how she’s able to make portraits using on-edge quilling. I have challenged myself so that one day I will be as good as her. I have made lots of artworks and in doing so instead of following in her footsteps, I learnt to make my own path as I know deep inside that I want to combine lots of paper styles to show to the world what paper can do.
I’m also inspired by Hanna Gilbert of DinoCat Studios (she heavily inspires my nature quilling and pet portrait), Mylyn Nguyen @Mylyn_eat_zombie who is a paper miniature artist opening my eyes to more techniques that I’ve never seen before. She was the entire reason I got inspired to do papercut and not depend at all on my cutting machines and pretty much do everything on my own. Finally, I followed a carefully curated artist on Instagram and “borrowed” their ideas or style and applied it to my own. I even had a couple of projects that I got inspired by other artists and thought, “I can do that or that will be cool on paper.”
What Is The Best Thing About Working With Paper?
Before we talk about the best thing about paper, I just want to say that if you work with paper you need to be patient, you can’t force something into a paper without being gentle or careful about it otherwise you can ruin the paper entirely and ultimately need to start over again.
Paper is cheap and accessible almost anywhere. It has a property that needs to be treated with care if you’re handling it, it can be both strong and fragile depending on the quality and weight (gsm) of paper. One thing I love the most is you are sometimes so limited with what you can do that you need to exercise your creativity in order to translate what you want into paper, this is why after doing ‘on-edge’ quilling for a while I tried to mix the paper techniques together, as there are other paper styles that best translate what you want using different paper techniques.
Do You Have A Preferred Type Of Paper That You Like To Work With?
I started collecting a lot of card stock for the paperweight I wanted to use for quilling. Nowadays, I pretty much use any paper from bond paper at 80gsm to my preferred card stock weight at 150-220gm, to 600-1000gsm board, corrugated cardboard, and 1.5-3mm matt board pretty much anything I think suits my project really. I don’t have a preference. I assess what type of paper best suits the effect I am aiming for. Sometimes I get a bit lazy though, I just grab the first paper that’s close enough to what I want instead of digging into my collection of papers which one to use best.
What Is Your Favourite Subject Matter To Work On And Create Artwork Around And Why?
I guess I am biased in saying it’s the Starry Night and the Great Wave off Kanagawa as I’ve made and remade these arts a couple of times. Each time I try to experiment, or if I’m thinking of something different, I use either one to test if that style is good. I even kept on reusing the starry night sky as I found it as the perfect sky background. I don’t really know why I feel like these two artworks connect to my soul. I think I just love it and it connects with me on a subconscious level. Aside from these, I love recreating nature as I love to go for a walk and spend time with nature a lot.
What Is Your Favourite Piece That You Have Made So Far And Why?
I have two, one for the on-edge quilling style the Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh with an abstract-ish style as I love to keep on making Starry Night. This particular one makes it look like I added my own spin on it and it looked amazing.
The second one is the miniature version of me in my art room. Looking at it makes me think of the hours and hours I have dedicated towards my self-improvement. Miniaturizing my quilling artworks into paper cut is fun and I enjoyed trying to replicate most of my stuff in my room. Lastly, it’s messy; I can’t make art without making a mess! My room is in a constant perpetual mess unless I’ve just finished an art and haven’t started a new one, the minute I start making art, I expect every tool and paper to be everywhere in my room.
How Did You Get Started With Your Art Practice? Do You Come From A Creative Background?
I had never thought or dreamt of becoming an artist let alone calling myself an artist. In December 2020 I bought a circuit maker after making a quilling artwork background for my wedding and got inspired to take quilling seriously.
I don’t come from a creative background (heck I never even thought I’ll be an artist when I grew up, I probably got more of the resourcefulness and using whatever you have from growing up in the Philippines where you can’t afford to buy, and you can only afford to be creative and resourceful on the limited materials available to you.
Do You Have Any Advice For Anyone Looking To Give Paper-Based Art A Try?
I would say just do it, you don’t need to have a large collection of paper nor have the right tools, just get the tools or material you have right now or even try to improvise and just cut, fold, or do whatever needs to be done.
Enjoy the process and don’t get attached too much to the final output. I suggest after each art or even session record what went right, what went wrong and what else you could have done, do this repeatedly and you’ll become more confident in your own skills, and you begin to trust your instinct.
Do what makes you excited, don’t pressure yourself to do something as you think it’s the ‘popular one’ unless you’re really excited to.
Don’t try to do something because you think you’ll be able to sell it quickly. Paper art teaches you to be patient, it is not an art form when you can finish something quickly most of the time.
What Would Be Your Ultimate Dream Paper Project?
I don’t have one now, but I am reserving a special project for my 100th art (currently at 94th) making a diorama of me with all my artworks or at least the ones I love the most and how I can make it into an art that blends to each other. I still haven’t really thought of everything else but I’m thinking I’ll do a portrait of me posing a victory pose (Japanese way) and add my husband somewhere as he has really encouraged me and helped me grow. He has suggested a couple of projects which ultimately made me challenge myself to see if I can do it or not.
What Do You Love Most About Paper?
The texture, it is a weird one, but one thing I love doing with my art is to touch them to feel the smoothness and roughness of the paper. The different qualities of each paper I used to make this particular art.
Feeling inspired? Head over to Love Paper Creations where you can put your hand to some paper-based arts and crafts.
If you found this Q&A interesting and would like to find out more information about Nikki and their work, you can follow them on Instagram and other social media platforms @nikkipaperart.
Not only is paper a natural source for creativity and experimentation, but you can rest assured it’s a sustainable way to be creative. If your paper-based artwork doesn’t go to plan, don’t worry, recycle it, and try again. After all, 71% of paper in Europe (that includes the UK) is recycled into new paper-based products. It’s one of the highest recycling rates in the world!
If you liked reading about how an artist uses paper in their art practice, then you might enjoy Love Paper’s interview with paper artist Sena Runa who also uses quilling to turn ordinary strips of paper into highly intricate sculptures and works of art.