Chris Natrop’s installations create a sort of mini-world: videos are projected and lighting is carefully directed on papercuts and other objects that fill the entire space. Though Natrop’s papercuts are able to participate in the entirety of the unified installation, they are equally effective as stand-alone works.

Natrop, a Wisconsin native, received his BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1993 with an emphasis in painting. He has created works commissioned by Facebook, Harry Winston Jewelers, and the U.S. Department of State’s Dubai Consulate. He has also exhibited at Chapman University: In 2007, Natrop held a solo exhibition titled “Lost in Space” at the Guggenheim Gallery, exhibiting several large installation works. Among these works was Super Spin City (2007), which is now part of the Escalette Collection (the piece is currently in storage).

Super Spin City, 2007

Chris Natrop, Super Spin City, 2007, tape on cut paper with nails. Gift of the artist, Escalette Collection.

Rather than focusing on the final papercuts themselves, Natrop’s work process centers around the act of papercutting. Working with just a knife, Natrop creates stream-of-consciousness, unplanned works that remain organically ambiguous. About the conceptual ideas behind his work, Natrop writes:

“While specific meanings vary from piece to piece, the underlying thrust of my work is based on the evolving concept of confronting a new type of landscape reborn out of a futuristic vision of an annihilated land. Although I believe the world is a glorious chance-evolution, the pressure placed on it through human intervention puts it in a precarious situation that I fear may force it to unravel. I counter my existential foreboding by offering fantastical visions of future days.”

Facebook Cloud Machine, 2016

Facebook Cloud Machine, Chris Natrop, 2016, acrylic and glitter on hand cut paper, string.

Chris Natrop will be speaking at Clear-cut: The Point of Paper Cuts. A Panel Discussion on the art of papercuts at Chapman University. The panel will take place on Monday, November 7th, from 6:00 – 7:30pm in the Bush Conference Center located in Beckman Hall, Room 404. The panel is free and open to all; no RSVP is required. Participants of the panel also include Reni Gower, Jorge Benitez, Bovey Lee, and Margaret Sosa.

Please contact Esther Shin at or 714-628-2832 for more information.

Featured image: Chris Natrop, Silver Sun Afterglow, 2016, cut paper with acrylic, glitter, aluminum powder, watercolor, wood and brass frames. Exhibition at Nancy Toomey Fine Art Gallery, San Francisco, CA.

To learn more about Chris Natrop and his work, visit his website at

We are grateful to the Escalette Permanent Art Collection Endowment for generously supporting this program.