The ‘Headlight series’, by Brooklyn-based artist Stephen Shaheen, are hand-sculpted from a modeling pulp he creates using recycled paper, cotton and denim, along with electrical components. The ideas originate in sketches, from which Shaheen creates armatures based on human proportions, positioning the gestures before carefully modeling the bodies. It is a long and multi-step process that results in a very hard, lightweight object. Rather than sculptural illuminations, Shaheen see these as illuminated sculptures, and each piece is unique.
To create the ‘Headlights’, Shaheen researched traditional doll and puppet-making techniques, and repurposed materials such as newspaper, blue jeans and personal paper items. In addition to creating environmentally-sensitive work, Shaheen finds meaning in the dismantling and reinvention of his belongings. Whether temporary vessels of my thoughts – such as old journals and sketchbooks or the detritus of quotidian life – like coffee filters, paper bags, parking tickets, and clothing, these intimate yet expendable items are destroyed and transformed into art.