Thomas Allen’s Playful Paper Cutouts Spring from Vintage Books and Color Swatches

Featured image: “Unstable” © Thomas Allen

Meticulous incisions and methodical folding allow scenes to arise from aged books and color swatches in Thomas Allen’s paper cutouts. Having loved pop-up books and shoebox dioramas since childhood, the artist cultivates a passion for “manufactured realities.”

“The vintage paperback work happened by complete accident,” Allen shares. “I was cutting into a pulp novel one afternoon with the intent of removing the illustration completely when I noticed that if I left some areas attached, folded the parts carefully, and looked at them from a single vantage point so that everything aligned, they created the illusion of 3D pop-ups. Everything snowballed from there.”

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