ABOUT THE ARTIST
Janelle Washington is a self-taught paper-cut artist from Virginia. She graduated from VCU with a BFA in Fashion Design and afterward found interest in paper cutting. Her artwork explores themes of history, identity, and beauty in African American culture.
Through the simplicity of paper, Janelle creates images that showcase African Americans’ courage, achievements, and grace in difficult situations. Paper reminds her of her ancestors, how from humble beginnings, a transformation can take place, creating something extraordinary. She creates patterns, symbols, and silhouettes that work simultaneously to construct a multifaceted design through positive and negative spaces. Her paper cuts retell a story of the past to current and future generations by adding a present-day perspective of empowerment and reflection.
She has commissioned silhouettes housed at the Smithsonian National Museum of African-American History and Culture in Washington, DC, and art at the historic St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Richmond, Virginia. Janelle's first illustrated book, written by author Angela Joy, will come out in Fall 2022. In addition, her silhouette of Breonna Taylor with the #SayHerName campaign was featured in the Oprah magazine September 2020 issue. She is also a member of The Guild of American Papercutters.
Photo Taken by Class and Style Productions