My first art exhibits were held in my mother’s kitchen. Her patronage was invaluable and carried me through to my art studies at Brooklyn College, N.Y.C. There, I studied with Ad Reinhardt, Philip Pearlstein, Albert Terris, and Jimmy Ernst, obtaining a B.A. fine arts and a M.A. Art Ed. These artist-instructors significantly influenced my love of color, form and design. I also studied stone carving at Montoya Studios, Palm Beach, FL. However, my love of sharing art brought me to teaching. This in turn, allowed me to see the world through fresh eyes each and every day. My art students were my greatest teachers. Many of my Florida art students were new residents in the U.S.A. and I often encouraged them to share their multi-cultural artistic experiences. The discovery of Chinese Zhe Zhi modular paper folding was just such a cultural experience taught to me by one of my art students. Now, after researching the technique, working in this unique paper medium allows me to create original organic-like forms and give a singular voice to the unity of many.
Chinese unit paper folding “Zhe Zhi,” has influenced my sculptural efforts. My research led me to discover the prisoner folk art of the captured immigrants on the ship, "The Golden Venture." Paper is as fragile as freedom. Amazingly, paper can be as strong as the desire for that freedom when it is linked together in this unique form of art. My sculpture now reflects individual frailty strengthened by the foundation of unity. Each paper sculpture is green art with multiple messages: one ecological and one sociological. Living in Florida has inspired me. Natural forms such as birds, plants, and sea life are often my subjects. I discover geometric structure in many of these natural objects and am inspired by their dynamic line.
The construction process takes several months. I sketch my subjects with value shading to get the sense of their dimension in space. Sometimes, multiple sketches are tried and even turned upside down to get a true sense of their lines and shading in space. Once a paper structure is begun it is set very much like stone. There may be as many as 6500 individual paper units in my paper sculptures, and sometimes even more. Each paper unit is created from a small cut rectangular piece of recycled magazine paper or archival printing paper. Each paper unit is created by hand, folded nine times, linked together, and bonded with Ph neutral glue.
About the Artist
I was born in Brooklyn, New York and received my Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Art/Ed from the City University of New York, Brooklyn College. My art career included 15 years as an art teacher: five years in New York and ten years in Florida. I now reside in Boca Raton, Florida. I earned a post-graduate ED.S degree from Nova University, Davie, FL for SLD instruction. Many of my Florida art students were new residents in the U.S.A. and often shared their multi-cultural artistic experiences. The discovery of Chinese Zhe Zhi modular paper folding was such a cultural experience taught to me by one of my art students. Now, after researching the technique, working in this unique paper medium allows me to create my own organic forms and give a singular voice to the unity of many.
My paper sculptures have been juried into many exhibitions in Florida including: The Scripps Research Center: Nexus: Science + Art; The Rosen Gallery International Biennial, ‘08,’10,’12; The Armory Art Center; The Von Liebig Art Center; Rossetti Art Gallery, The Artist’s Guild Gallery; The 110 Art Gallery; The Cornell Museum; and The 2011 - 60th Annual - All Florida Exhibition and Competition at the Boca Raton Museum of Art. I have numerous first place awards and a great many other honors.
More recently and importantly, my work has received the First Place Award at the Boca Raton Museum of Art, 2010 Biennial, in Boca Raton, Florida. Also, my portfolio of work has recently been awarded the Mastermind Art Grant for South Florida and The Art Craft Award: Rosen Gallery Biennial 2012. I have lectured on the history and technique of Chinese Zhe Zhi paper sculpture to various professional art groups. My portfolio may be seen on the web at www.francenelevinson.com. The possibilities are endless. The exploration is engaging. The results are inspiring.