Hong Kong Art Tutoring | Matthew Shlian

Artist of the Week – Matthew Shlian

Posted on March 16, 2015 · Posted in Artist of the Week

Michigan -based artist Matthew Shilan’s works are beautiful contemporary compositions using basic geometric shapes of squares, circles and triangles. His work is created by both constructing and de-constructing processes. This is an ongoing and organic exploration of shape, form and space.

Shilan frequently designs, builds and works with corporate entities, where he facilitates projects that inspire creativity and innovation in the workforce. His clients include (to name but a few) Apple, Swire Properties and Deloitte.

In his own words

Could you please introduce yourself and what motivates you to create and why?
I am an artist/designer working in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  My work extends from drawings to large-scale installations, to collaborations with leading scientists at the University of Michigan. My work for the National Science Foundation explores paper-folding structures on the macro level translated to the nano-scale.

I’d say my starting point in making work is curiosity: I have to make the work in order to understand it.  If I can completely visualize my final result I have no reason to make it- I need to be surprised.

Did your upbringing influence your work?
I was a very curious child.  I read somewhere that some kids are praised for their decision-making skills and others for their creativity.  I was the kid taking everything apart at a young age. My parents supported my art from the beginning.

Of all the various sculpture materials, why did you choose paper?
There is an immediacy to paper.  You may take a sheet and begin to work, or plan something out methodically.  It is a medium with a memory and one with which you can naturally create a dialogue.

What elements do you find most challenging in your work?
I like a good challenge in my work.  I like figuring things out and making them work…the hardest parts of my job have nothing to do with the art side of things. Rather, it’s the other side: the business side of forms and invoices and client meetings, and people asking for free work in exchange for exposure…

What concepts are you currently exploring and what will you embark on next?
I’ve been exploring surface, pattern and repetition for a while and have been lining up a few large installations that follow along those lines.


In 2006 Matthew Shlian graduated from Cranbrook Academy- Bloomfield Hills, MI, with Master of Fine Arts Concentration in Print Media and Paper Engineering. He currently divides his time between teaching at the University of Michigan, mocking up new-fangled packaging options for billion dollar blue-chips, and creating some of the most inspiring paper art around.

All images courtesy of Matthew Shlian  | www.mattshlian.com

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The Process Series 11 - Float

The Process Series 11 – Float

Hong Kong Art Tutoring | Matthew Shlian

The Tower Series

Hong Kong Art Tutoring | Matthew Shlian

Detroit extraction for Chrysler / W+K
Paper 11 1/4 x 11 1/4 x 1/2 2013

Hong Kong Art Tutoring | Matthew Shlian

Process Series 2 (WAVE)
paper 8 x 11 x 1/2 inches 2013 (photo by Cullen Stephenson)

Hong Kong Art Tutoring | Matthew Shlian

Ara117 Apo
40 x 1/2 2013

Hong Kong Art Tutoring | Matthew Shlian

Sleeper (for Eight Emperors) Paper 8 1/4 x 8 1/4 x 1/4 2013