Celebrating Women in Art! — Part 4: Lorraine Bubar


Interview with Lorraine Bubar

by Hanna Zorilla

Lorraine Bubar is an immensely detail oriented artist who uses paper as her medium. Lorraine’s papercut works are incredibly intricate and often advocate for the environment and social justice. Talking to Lorraine, you can hear her drive and the hard work it takes to create her amazing artwork. 

Your art is incredibly detailed and complex, what made you choose to do papercut artwork rather than another medium?

“Papercut artwork is very labor intensive, but I seem to gravitate towards labor intensive ways of working. My first career was in animation which was also very labor intensive, but I like getting into “the flow” and seeing where it takes me. I used to paint with watercolor, so I consider myself a painter, and I would use an x-acto knife to meticulously cut stencils to airbrush in the backgrounds. I already was cutting with an x-acto knife for my watercolors , so I made the switch from cutting the stencils to cutting the paper. I love to travel and in many cultures around the world artisans create papercuttings, including in own my Eastern European Judaic ancestry. Papercutting also allows me to be in the fine art realm and craft realm at the same time, which opens up a lot of avenues for exhibiting my work. I think of my papercutting as more like painting because I add layers and layers of colored papers, as if I’m painting with dabs of paper instead of paint.”

Is there something that you know today that you wish you knew when you first started your career as an artist?

“One thing is that you have to enjoy the process and do it for yourself.  When I am working, I am continually surprised and delighted with the unfolding process before me in creating the composition and seeing how the colors work together.  I think that is a feeling to work towards.  Let your instincts take you and trust what’s inside instead of being guided by exterior forces.  Give yourself the license to do what is authentically you. ”

I know a lot of your work surrounds environmental issues and social justice, why have you chosen to speak out about these issues through your art and why does this inspire you to create art?

“In the era that we’re in, I question what the purpose of art is and what responsibility does an artist have in communicating to the larger population. I want my art to communicate about the fragility of nature and even the fragility of our urban environments being transformed by overdevelopment and homelessness.  I love to travel and I’m lucky I can use my direct experiences to create art about fragile ecosystems around the world, including the land, the air, the water, and the species that are threatened.”

Is there an artwork that stands out to you, because you had so much passion and drive while creating it?

“There’s not one that stands out, but I really like my pieces that capture peak experiences of my life. I’ve been given the opportunity to be the artist in residence in several national parks. Most recently, in Lassen Volcanic National Park, where the Dixie fire is and nearly half of it has burned.  I recently created a piece where I was sitting by a lake in Lassen, observing the mountains, baby toads, wildflowers, and insects. It’s sad to know that the trails I hiked to beautiful destinations are being destroyed.  It shows how fragile this planet is.”

How do you determine success as an artist?

“It’s really important for me to exhibit. I have the feeling of success most when I have work in exhibits and talk to people about how my imagery resonates with them.”

How do you know when an artwork is done, do you ever force yourself to stop?

“My work looks so done when it’s done, not one space is not intricately looked at. I do stand back to see how the colors work together and if I need to change anything, but every quarter of an inch is so examined during the process of creating.”

What advice would you give to young female artists? 

“Try to find your authentic voice, try to say something important whether it’s political or emotional. Work hard, and don’t worry about what other artists are doing around you.”

Lorraine Bubar has shown her evocative papercuts at Chemers Gallery for 9 years. Layer upon layer of hand-cut paper build the intricate images she creates . To see more of Lorraine’s work click this link to our website. 

In case you missed our interview with Kara Bullock, click here
For our interview with Maria Counts, click here
For our interview with Jonde Nothcutt, click here