Completely self-taught, Satish began with small subjects like birds and insects before gradually moving on to exotic sculptures.

For the love of art Meet the Vizag man who makes beautiful sculptures using paper
news Feature Friday, January 26, 2018 - 14:37

The word sculptor usually brings to mind a man busy chiselling away on metal or plaster, but Moka Satish Kumar, a Visakhapatnam-based artist, plans to change that perception.

A paper sculptor, Satish is gaining recognition for intricate sculptures carved by him using nothing but paper.

Born, raised and educated in Visakhapatnam, Satish has been sculpting these three-dimensional sculptures for close to 12 years now.

“I come from a commerce background and have no formal training in the arts field. It all started when I began observing paper collages. I was drawn to the subtle way in which light and dark colour paper are assembled to create an image,” says Satish, who used to work in the private sector.

“However, with sculptures, it’s far more realistic as the effect of a shadow is created by the subject itself,” he adds.

Since Satish is completely self-taught, he began with small subjects like birds and insects before gradually moving on to some exotic sculptures. Here are a few examples.

The making of paper sculptures

 Like other sculptures, the ones that Satish makes come in different sizes. While the minimum size is 2x1.5 feet, the biggest sculptures are 5x4 feet. This includes the frame, a wooden casing behind the sculpture and a 0.25 watt LED light inside the frame to provide adequate lighting.

The first thing that a sculptor decides is the type of paper to use.

“Generally, paper sculptures are made from paper pulp. However, I ensure that I buy pure pulp that has not been treated with any chemicals. This ensures that the final art work looks life-like,” Satish says.

“The idea is that the paper should not be too thick or too thin. It should be of medium thickness and must not bend easily,” he adds.

The outline of the art is first drawn on the paper before Satish cuts them out and gets to work. The sculptures are made using a combination of cutting, folding and embossing techniques.

“Embossing is nothing but adding an extra layer on top of a paper to give it a certain finish and 3D effect. For example, the finish you find on wedding cards is from preset designs, which are pressed onto the card,” Satish explains.

“However, I do it manually to ensure that the final product is smooth. The paper should also be handled with care as it is generally a delicate thing,” he adds.

Meticulous effort

Making a sculpture is not easy work, as even a basic 2x2 feet portrait can take up to 250 hours, says Satish.

“The sculptures are also expensive for the same reason. Only those who put in the hard work will understand. No corrections can be made to the art work… even a minor mistake means that the sculptor has to start over again,” Satish says.

The minimum cost of a sculpture is Rs 25,000, while more complicated images can even cost you Rs 50,000.

While paper sculpting is relatively more common in western countries, very few Indians indulge in the art form. Therefore, Satish has also opened an institute and is presently teaching three students in his workshop.

“I also need labour. I can’t mass produce these sculptures, so I’m working on teaching it to more people. I also plan to approach the Andhra Pradesh government with my work,” he says.