My friend Rosaland Hannibal just introduced me to the Japanese art of Notan–a paper cutting art that focuses on positive and negative space. It’s magical. And more than beautiful. The use of positive space (items that take up space) and negative space (empty space) makes a wonderful metaphor for life–what we bring in, where we let it take up room, and the opposite of one thing in the place of another.
The trick of Notan is to place the positive and negative images right next to each other, with edges touching. It creates both a pattern and a statement. A shadow image and a blank image. The whole effect is stunning.
Notan is not hard to create. It works best when you use a small square of white paper on a larger square of black paper. Or the other way around. Of course you can use two different colors, but the starkness of black and white adds a bigger contrast and a sense of movement in time.
Here is a Notan tutorial if you want to try it for yourself. The above images are from that tutorial.
—Quinn McDonald loves it when art imitates life. Or the other way around.