Interview with Paper Artist, Diana Beltran Herrera

How did you get started doing what you do?
I started when I was a child. My mother used to have a room in the house where she would make all kind of things for the house and also cuddly toys. I spent most of my time in that room with my mom collecting all the materials left over, and I started playing with them to see which things I could do. My parents were always very supportive, they used to provide me with different materials and always thought being creative was important. I always played with recycled materials at home because as a child I didn’t have money, so slowly I learnt the potential that was in those things and started to make things for myself.

How would you describe your creative style?
I have different ways of doing things and those actions are a response to the things that I have available and how I learn to use them. Most of my work developed from getting used to something that can be accessed easily and is in most cases ordinary. My work is immediate; I think of something and I have to do it right away. It is also an intimate relationship between me and the materials that I am constantly transforming. I consider the act of making as something very simple.

Interview with Paper Artist, Diana Beltran Herrera on Jung Katz
Interview with Paper Artist, Diana Beltran Herrera on Jung Katz

What’s your inspiration?
I am interested in this moment of time and I am looking to this society as an historic one. Through my work I am recording the everyday things that I see, and that surround me. I read a lot about anthropology as a way to understand the modern human and all the layers that constitute us. I also read a lot about art as a way to understand how relevant our experiences are and how vital communication is. I think art is as amazing as science in the way that there is so much understanding and knowledge. Another important part of my practice is design as it is related to the inanimate world and the relation between human and things.

What is art to you?
Art is a human expression. There are so many different ways of expression. Art can be manifested in so many different ways, but the main layer is creation. I have found the act of making to be very helpful to me in order to understand who I am and about what the world is.

What does your typical day look like?
A day of reading and finding surprises in the everyday. I look at things and think about what they mean to me, why I have them, how I relate to them. I go to my studio and enjoy the quietness because I can choose what I want to think, and everyday is different. I spend most of my day alone, playing with paper, creating my own place in my own way. I have time and freedom.

Interview with Paper Artist, Diana Beltran Herrera on Jung Katz

How long does it typically take for you to finish a piece?
It depends, with the birds it takes like 2 to 3 weeks. Now that I am doing everyday items, I can make at least 1 in a day.

How do you keep motivated?
I am too curious, I think that’s the reason why I never stop.

How would you say your surroundings have influenced your work?
Completely. A place plays an important role in life as it is where all the experiences are created. When I was living in Colombia I used to see a lot of green and dense forest, and all these beautiful animals and creatures every day, even in the city. Now I live in England and it is different, I feel lonely, but I am using that loneliness to spend time with me doing my work.

What do you hope to accomplish with your work?
I do it because I have an inner drive, I like to have things but the things I love the most are the ones that I make. I make a lot of things because it is free, I only need time. I like the challenge of making, but also to think how making is so important for humanity. I have done my work without any expectations, I do it because it makes me happy, and when the work reaches people and they like it I feel happy too. I like how things we do can connect people, and if those things are done right they can educate, or bring something to think about.

Interview with Paper Artist, Diana Beltran Herrera on Jung Katz
Interview with Paper Artist, Diana Beltran Herrera on Jung Katz

What, if anything, would you tell your younger self?
I would tell them thank you for making the choices you made at that time, thank you for pushing those things harder and never lose them.

What’s the best advice you’ve been given?
To listen but not take it seriously, unless I feel it should be taken seriously.

Any words of wisdom to aspiring artists who want to pursue a similar career?
I would like to say that it is important to believe in what you do and to work hard, have discipline and be patient. Even if it’s not good it will always get better if you do it every day.

What are your thoughts on art school?
I did my MA in Fine Arts and I thought it added a lot to me. It is a good place to consider what we are doing, to take examples and to discover things, but at the end art is such as a personal process that it evolves more when you are on your own.

Interview with Paper Artist, Diana Beltran Herrera on Jung Katz

Have any future aspirations that you’d like to share?
I am working in biographical objects at the moment and really would like to see those works somewhere.

What’s your dream project?
I would love to publish a book with my work, but not a normal book, I would like the book to be the artwork.

What art supplies do you use?
I work with any kind of paper, from tissue paper to really fine paper. I like to go to places and recycle what they discard, but for my birds I do them in Canson 120 gr.

What’s your process like?
It starts by choosing a photo of the thing I want to create. Then I work the sketch in the computer and get all views and create like a catalogue of pieces that I need. After I start tracing those shapes in paper and cut them. Last part is to glue everything together and in some cases dye the paper with special inks to get the right colours.

Follow Diana Beltran Herrera on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.



Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s