Marvel Studios Commissioned This Filipino Artist to Make Black Panther Fan Art
Practically everyone has been singing The Black Panther’s praises since it hit movie theaters. After all, the film is an unabashed celebration of African culture, and T’Challa is the kind of leader we all need.
Being the marketing-savvy studio that it is, Marvel Studios has asked its fans to express their love for the movie by posting fan art using the hashtag #BlackPantherFanArt. They’ve gotten the ball rolling by commissioning artists to pay tribute to Wakanda’s benevolent king.
Among them is paper-cutting artist John Ed De Vera, who also designed Esquire’s July 2016 cover. This is his first collaboration with Marvel, and he based his work on cover and promotion artist Alexander Lozano's illustrations. “I still couldn’t believe it happened,” he says. “I used the design from Civil War as my reference, and it was a challenge figuring out how to illustrate his suit on paper. I wove some parts and used different types of black paper stock just to get the effect!”
When asked about what he liked most about the film, De Vera says, “From a designer’s stand point—Wakanda! I like how they envisioned and designed a technologically advanced African country with a culture ‘untouched’ by colonizers. Loved their costumes!”
When working on a paper-cutting project, De Vera begins by drawing his subject. Once he’s satisfied with the form, he plans the layers and paper colors as he finalizes the details of the drawing. “I then transfer the drawing to the actual paper stock I’m going to cut. I fold some of the layers to add a little dimensionality to the artwork when photographed,” he explains.
De Vera has been into paper cutting since his college days. “I used to borrow cutters from my dad every time I needed to cut something for my plates. He would always get mad because I would never return them,” he says. One of his first paper sculptures was a finals plate for a major AD subject, an omnibus ad for an airline.
After graduating, his first job was at Gift Gate, as a junior artist for Swatch. “We did window displays and the first ever window display we created was a paper sculpture. We were cutting signages and standees back then which I think ‘sharpened’ this particular skill. It was only about a few years back that I went back to cutting paper whenever there are opportunities for such art,” he says.
John Ed De Vera's work on Esquire Philippines' July 2016 issue
Today, he has an ongoing project with sabaw.ph called #madethepapers, where he does portraits of personalities who recently made news.
If you ever need a stress reliever, scrolling through the impressively intricate paper art on De Vera’s feed will make you forget all about your worries. To see more of his art, check out his Instagram account.