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Armed with only an X-acto knife and tweezers, Korean artist Yoo Hyun carves intricate portraits of famous personalities like Marilyn Monroe, Pablo Picasso and Frida Kahlo, by meticulously slicing away thin slivers of paper from a large sheet. Hyun weaves a zig-zag pattern into the sheet with each line varying in width, such that when viewed from a distance, a photo-realistic portrait magically appears. The portraits are actually see-through and it’s the negative space between each strip of paper in combination with the positive space that together contributes to the illusion of the image.

Because the portraits are see-through, Hyun’s handwork can be laid over any background consisting of bright colors or patterns, making the same piece look radically different. A monochromatic paint splatter is Hyun’s most popular choice.


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