Sabeena Karnik is a paper art creator that celebrates hand-crafted labour by making each of her paper typography pieces with immense meticulous detail and finesse.
Sabeena Karnik is a paper artist specializing in 3D lettering and illustrations. She is an Independent illustrator/ typographer specializing in paper sculpting and 3D illustration. Sabeena loves working with paper and exploring its endless possibilities for the past ten years.
Her expertise stems from her education in applied art with a typography major from Sophia Polytechnic in Mumbai. In her ten years career until now she has worked with Google, Adobe, Instagram, Disney, Oppo, Tanishq, Porsche and many more high-profile clients.
Sabeena Karnik’s inspiration stems from her childhood, her travel diaries and nature. Explore her creative process behind her spell-bounding work in this interview with CreativeGaga.
CG. Please tell us about your childhood memories, education and professional experiences.
Sabeena. As a child, I was always into art and drawing. So it was a natural decision to pursue an education in art too. I studied applied art with a typography major from Sophia Polytechnic in Mumbai. Became a professional paper artist 10 years ago after realising this is my true calling. Over the past decade, I’ve had the pleasure to work with Google, Adobe, Instagram, Disney, Oppo, Tanishq, Porsche and many others. I create artworks purely with paper which are then photographed and used commercially across various mediums such as advertising, editorial, digital campaigns and more
CG. How did you find your passion for paper artistry?
Sabeena. I have always been passionate about lettering and paper art since my learning years. In art college, I decided to major in typography and also created my final year campaign using paper. So that was the starting point for paper artistry in my life. I just didn’t know what the next course of action was until many years later when I started combining the two of them.
CG. Where did you get your start of building your illustrious career?
Sabeena. The start happened with a personal project in the year 2010 when I decided to experiment by making the entire alphabet A-Z using paper. It was a fun thrilling experience of combining the two things I love. Little did I know it would be noticed by advertising agencies and I would be hired to create paper types for them. I hadn’t even completed the entire series when I got my first commercial project. Slowly and with time I started to get more assignments which made me sit up and think that maybe I can do this professionally.
How does the creative process behind your spell-bounding creations differ with each paper artwork?
Sabeena. The creative process is the same for each project. Of Course, the brief is different so the theme varies. But the basic process is the same as sketching my rough ideas first and eventually creating the piece with paper
CG. Which type of paper is your preferred choice to use in creating paper art?
Sabeena. I use all kinds of paper for my work. Some stiffness and weight is preferred for certain projects. Generally, the decision is made based on colours. I don’t use any specific brands but a lot of Italian ones have a great variety.
CG. How did you feel when your artwork was showcased and you were celebrated as an artist on the cover of Verve Magazine?
Sabeena. The Verve collaboration was unreal and I still cannot believe it happened. Nevertheless, I feel incredibly humbled and honoured that my paper art has been recognised in ways I never imagined.
CG. How does a travel destination inspire you to create your novel hand paintings?
Sabeena. Travel and sketching go hand in hand for me. It’s the best way to take in the beauty of a place instead of just snapping a photo. When I draw I’m observing the details, the atmosphere and put down my interpretation of what I see in front of me. It’s the most intimate experience of creation.
CG. How do your paper designs hit the bullseye with your clients?
Sabeena. I don’t know, maybe the fact that it’s all handcrafted and nothing is created digitally sets it apart. In an age where everything has gone digital, going back to your roots using your hands with different materials to create is always going to be unique even if it takes time and doesn’t produce instant results. It’s a labour of love… using patience and skills will always make you stand out.
CG. When your paper art pieces are in mass circulation for everyone to see and experience, what kind of details do you make sure are evident in your designs?
Sabeena. I don’t focus on the finer details as much as the bigger picture as a whole. By and large, it’s the vibrancy, movement and craftsmanship that I stress on. It matters to me how the viewer feels when they see my work. Are they surprised, do they feel happy and inspired? I want the visual to linger in their minds long after they have seen it.
CG. Where do you seek inspiration for creating paper artistry?
Sabeena. Inspiration comes from everywhere but mostly from nature, its colours and textures. I don’t have to look far to be inspired. Lines and forms are all around us. The way light falls on them to create shadows and shapes is so fascinating. I try to bring that into my work as much as I can.
CG. What do you look forward to creating through your paper art?
Sabeena. I wish to create work that communicates a deeper meaning than what meets the eye. A way to change people’s perspective, bring about awareness and upliftment. I want to do larger work and go bigger if possible.
Published in Issue 34
This is a rebranding special issue focused on finding the answers to some of the basic questions like what is the right time for re-branding? or what all needs changing and how exactly? We interviewed some of the best branding studios like Landor Mumbai, Elephant, VGC, Inchwork, and many more. If you are considering rebranding or want to learn more about the art of doing it then this issue is a must read. So, go ahead
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