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Artist Hand-Carves Sheets of Paper to Create Photo-Realistic Celebrity Portraits

Armed with an X-acto knife and a pair of tweezers, Korean artist Yoo Hyun carves intricate, highly realistic portraits of celebrities. His paper-cut portraits look like abstract designs from up-close, but at a distance, the thin slits reveal the faces of movie stars, world leaders, and musicians.

Hyun’s signature style consists of zig-zag patterns, but he doesn’t carve in straight lines. Instead, he varies the thickness of each strip, to create facial features and expressions. Each line specifically adds to the three-dimensional illusion. The negative spaces are see-through, so layering the portrait over a colored surface or pattern adds even more depth. He mostly chooses a black ink-splattered surface, but sometimes he uses bold colors like blue and red to illuminate the portraits.

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The Beautiful Cut Canvas Portraits of Kuin Heuff

At first glance, Dutch artist Kuin Heuff‘s portraits seem to be made up of a dizzying number of converging lines, but in reality, the creative process couldn’t be more different.

The Rotterdam-based artist, whose work focuses on the intricacies of the human face, starts off by creating acrylic paintings of the faces she wants to render. But while other artists would leave it at that, she takes her art to a whole new level by taking a sharp knife and cutting away maze-like patterns to create negative space. The process becomes even more impressive when you realize how important deciding when and where to cut, considering every stroke of the knife is irreversible. Yet Kuin Heuff pulls it off with relative ease, showing incredible skill and an eye for what’s important in her art.

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Ming Liang Lu – A Self-Described Master Paper Portrait Cutter

He’s not the best English speaker in New York, but his skills with the scissors makes Ming Liang Lu one of the most popular subway artists in the big city. The Chinese master claims the art he practices, cutting people’s portraits out of black paper, is unique in the world.

If you’ve ever used the metro, you’re probably familiar with subway performers like dancers or violin and guitar players, but Ming Liang Lu is a different kind of entertainer. Using a small piece of black paper and scissors, he’s able to create intricate, slightly caricatured portraits of subway riders and passers-by, even without looking at them for reference. That might not sound like a lot, but seeing him manipulate that small sheet of folded paper while holding the scissors almost completely still will blow your mind.

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