Elegant and quirky, Christina Lihan's bas-relief sculptures in bass wood and paper look like the conceptual offspring of architectural models and pop-up books. Her miniature cityscapes framed behind glass depict art deco gems like the Delano Hotel in Miami Beach and Atlanta's own Midtown skyline, which Lihan is rendering in two large works for the new Spire building's lobby.
Lihan is also an architect with Cooper Carry and a triathlete. Her beguiling artworks can be seen at Mason Murer Fine Art.
What inspired the work?
My dad was a furniture maker and my mom's an artist, and the two kind of melded together with architecture. I grew up doing a lot of art. People always say, "How did you start doing it? I've never seen anything like it before." I was living in Florida and I was working for this architect designing hospitals. And I was really bored creatively and needed an outlet. So I just started cutting paper and started playing around and then I started getting into buildings. And it just got bigger and I got more into it, into more detail. It's my passion.
How long do the pieces take to do?
They take forever. It's very time consuming: a lot of cutting and a lot of layers. A small, 18-by-24 piece will probably take about 50 hours.
Do you have a favorite architect?
Santiago Calatrava [the architect of Atlanta's Symphony Center] ... and then Renzo Piano [the designer of the High Museum expansion] is an incredible architect. I think those two architects for the city are just fantastic. I love the High Museum. That's one of my favorite buildings in Atlanta. It's all white and my stuff is all white.
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