Skip to main content

Steamboat Magazine

Paulina M. Johnson: Exploring the Art of Paper

09/03/2020 01:39PM ● By Rachel Miller

By Rachel Miller

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS- Steamboat Springs artist Paulina Johnson’s passion for paper artwork grew from a surprising place: annoyance with one aspect of her previous profession. 

"Camper" by Paulina Johnson, a piece from her 100-day project.

“One of the things I started noticing and disliking about the profession of graphic design was the amount of paper waste that it creates,” Johnson says. “So, I just started collecting paper and junk mail; cutting it, shredding it, making stuff with it, to kind of give it a new life. My whole purpose was to take what could be envisioned as waste and trash and give it a new life as a piece of art.”

For the past three years, Johnson’s new medium has become a learning experience. She went from focusing on the graphic design profession for many years to diving into the world of paper art, which she creates out of her studio, Copper Case. Johnson’s paper art has evolved from the  traditions of paper quilling, origami and paper cutting. Cutting paper into strips of varying lengths, forming the strips into shapes, and then bringing those shapes together to form life has been a new inspiration for the artist. 

To perfect her art, Johnson recently challenged herself to a 100-day project on Instagram, creating one piece of art on a 6x6 square each day for 100 consecutive days.

"Gondola" by Paulina Johnson, a piece from her 100-day project. 

Last April was the perfect time to start this project,  amidst the quarantine, Johnson says, because she had so much free, creative time spent at home. No one piece of art is ever the same, and with this challenge, Johnson explored elements like dimension, shape, lighting and depth, all while trying to tell a story. Pieces from the 100-day project can be viewed at

“What inspires me from one project to the next is the mistakes I make,” Johnson says. “I’m constantly trying to figure out ways to create better. Making something random every day has really allowed me to explore shapes that are harmonious in each different composition.”

Paulina Johnson’s artwork is on display at Pine Moon Fine Art in downtown Steamboat Springs. Her work can also be viewed on her studio’s website,, or her Instagram page, @paulinamjohnson.

Pine Moon Fine Art will have their September show opening on First Friday, Sept. 4th at 5:00 p.m. The show is Colorado Scenes in Pencil, Paper & Ink by Sandi Poltorak, Paulina M. Johnson and Jill Bergman.