For paper sculpture artist Julia Johnson, it’s all in the finely cut details

Hailing from Philadelphia, Julia Johnson, showcased her beautiful work for the first time at Artexpo 2018. A paper sculpture artist for over seven years, Johnson’s thesis project involved a creation of a synthetic paper, most likely influenced by her lessons from packaging class.


“I’ve always been a fine artist; illustration is something I’ve always loved,” she said at the event. “I studied graphic design in college and for my thesis project I developed something of a product that used this synthetic paper. I also fell in love with packaging class: learning how to make innovative packaging, and working with the folds, and how you can create different shapes of paper and paper sculpture.”

Primarily favoring the color white, Johnson adheres cut out pieces of synthetic, tree-free, waterproof paper to a frame to create lotus blossoms, shapes reminiscent of orchid flowers, and other blooms.


The more organic looking blooms were created using a culinary torch. “I started out kind of making these clean, cut and folded forms for the pieces and then I wanted to make something that was a little more realistic,” Johnson said. She started experimenting with a lighter but developed a blister on her thumb. She explained that with the culinary torch, she had more artistic freedom as it is a “…little beam of intense heat as opposed to the flame which is a little harder to control.”

The culinary-torch pieces take approximately eight to 10 hours to complete. “We cut and…there are a lot of extra [pieces] sometimes,” she said. “You burn so many, you get all these different shapes and then you kind of find a way to put them together.”

The lotus flower is one of her signature pieces. Johnson affirmed that it is “definitely one of the first ones that I did and it’s been one of the consistently showing up in my work. I think there’s something about the symmetry. It’s white on and white, and there’s a lot of shadow play and it’s kind of a clean geometric form. I find it peaceful.”

Johnson’s pieces range from $275 to $2,400. For more information about her work, go to