#Thomas Allen

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

February 4, 2024

Jackie Andres

“Bearings.” All images © Thomas Allen, shared with permission

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.”

By photocopying pages he intends to use, the Coloma-based artist can make test cutouts of potential compositions before moving on to the final product. He then photographs each iteration while considering light and angle.

Allen spends the rest of his time as a township clerk and public lecturer and is looking forward to working with Joseph Bellows Gallery in the coming months. You can find more work and updates on his website and follow him on Instagram.







Detail of “Unyielding”

Detail of “Unrelenting”



Test cutouts in Allen’s studio

#Thomas Allen


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