Wednesday Indie Artist Fixx with Joe Bagley

wednesday indie artist fixx interview

What a treat today for all you fellow paper lovers. Today, for the Wednesday Indie Artist Fixx I’m sharing my interview with Joe Bagley of Papercuts by Joe…as well as plenty of paper eye candy by Joe. His work really is amazing  and you can see more on his flickr.  Enjoy!

What’s the name of your business, what do create and sell and how did you get your start?

My business is creatively called Papercuts by Joe, and I make cut paper art.  Each of my pieces are hand-cut from black paper and mounted to white illustration board.  I started when I was 12 creating designs from stencil and coloring books.  I continued it as a hobby, mostly copying other papercutters work, until college when I started creating my own designs from my photos.  It was still a hobby,  I was majoring in archaeology, but I made the switch to a full-time business in 2007.

Share some of your inspirations.

I have tons of general inspirations: Nature, architecture, dramatic angles, but currently my biggest inspiration is bare branches.  I love fall leaves, but I can’t wait for them to drop so I can start a new line of branch pieces.

What’s your creative process like?

Usually, I create in fits and bursts.  I’ll go for a week or two thinking I’ll never come up with a new design, and then in one day I’ll have six ready to go.  Often, it’s something completely unrelated to art that inspires a new piece or series of pieces.  Then I try to get some good photos to work from.

What’s the best thing about what you do? And the worst?

The best thing about what I do is that I can travel with it and create anywhere indoors.  Also, I have been doing it so long my cutting speed is pretty high, so I can usually finish a smaller piece in one sitting.  Feels good to have an idea, and shortly afterward have the finished result.  The worst is that when it’s done, my work tends to look like anything EXCEPT paper, so showing my art can be exhausting having to explain to everyone who walks in what it is. I also get a lot of walk-by people that only glance at my work. I always wonder if they knew what it was, would they at least stop to take a closer look?

What do you do when you hit a creativity block?

When I hit a creative block, I usually start going through my thousands of travel and general photos looking for designs hidden in them.  I have a ton of amazing pieces that were once background nothings in a snapshot of family or odd things like me holding a bug that turned into a popular design.  I call it “farming for designs”.

What have you recently been reading, watching and listening to?

I have recently been reading (like everyone else) the Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, and after hundreds of pages it’s finally getting interesting.  I couldn’t sleep a few nights ago and watched a behind the scenes making of the new PBS series Circus which I think will be come a must-see in our apartment.  And I’m an NPR junky, so I’m constantly spewing useless, though interesting, info to my friends and family.  I think the WBUR staff are my coworkers.

Share something silly about yourself.

I’m pretty much a shy person, but if I can “hide” behind something like a lecture, recital, or my art, I become Mr. Personality.  I once hid a bag of fake blood in my shirt in high school.  While reciting a Shakespeare soliloquy involving the death of the character (don’t remember who), I stabbed the bag hidden in my shirt with the pencil, bled out, and slowly collapsed against the wall of the classroom while reciting the last few lines.  Proud moment!

Were you an arty craftsy kid?

I was/am a very crafty child.  My mom ran a daycare out of our home so we literally had a closet full of craft supplies. We also frequented a store that sold bulk stuff to daycares and schools like leftover shoe leather from the mills, bread bag tags, buttons, and other random flotsam that could be used creatively.  Had a blast making stuff out of random bits and bobs.

What other types of crafty stuff do you do?

Currently, I dabble in soapstone carving, drawing, I’m a terrible painter, flintkanpping (making stone arrowheads), and I’ve been experimenting with the sewing machine making paper wearable art.


  1. Wow–this work is amazing. I can’t imagine how many calluses you must have built up! It’s also dangerous work! I’ve used exacto knives before and done some nasty damage to my index finger. Be careful and keep up the awesome work! Very impressive.

  2. These are too cool! That this is hand-cut & not by machine is beyond impressive. I remember cutting out paper-cardboard, etc for models in college & precision takes major patience. Hats off.

  3. I just love this paper art – WOW!!! The scooter is my best!!! I also found the first hundred thousand pages of the girl with the dragon tattoo somewhat dull… but then it hots up and I couldn’t put it down… In fact, once I finally met the girl with the dragon tattoo I couldn’t put the series down!!!

  4. Wonderful interview with one of my favorite papercutters 🙂 I wonder what paper he’s using (that is black on one side and white on the other)…

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