The Paper Engineer, Matthew Shlian

Lifework

You might say artist and designer Matthew Shlian has a ton of paperwork. Between his own artwork, design and commissions for clients, teaching, and collaborating with scientists at the University of Michigan, you can see why. With a background as a paper engineer, Matthew's work focuses on paper as a means to explore three-dimensional form. He says, "Researchers see paper engineering as a metaphor for scientific principals; I see their inquiry as basis for artistic inspiration." Check out the basis for his musical inspiration in today's Playlist.

What do you listen to while you work? I listen to everything. Looking through my iTunes "most played" songs, it's a mix of Jóhann Jóhannsson, Burial, Why?, the Antlers, El-P, Action Bronson, and a ton of Ghostly Records stuff.

How do you listen? I share studio space with five other people so it depends on the time of day and who is here. If we can't agree on music, then it's headphone time. I'm usually here alone in the mornings and I like to just listen to ambient music. For fellow audio nerds: I use KRK studio monitors, and for headphones I use Sennheiser HD 280 Pros [below].

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Does music influence your work? Absolutely. I've been a drummer most of my life. I see connections between music and visual art almost to a point of synesthesia.

Where do you find music recommendations? Who influences your musical taste? Friends let me know, or I find things online.

What song or artist best represents the work you create? I have no idea how to answer this. I'd love to compare myself to Brian Eno but that seems presumptuous. Reading about his process of creating is inspiring and I see connections to my own studio. It's difficult to sum up my work with song, but I have to go with [Eno's] Music for Airports.

Ideal place to sit and listen to your playlist: I went to Cranbrook Academy of Art for grad school and need to represent with the Eames Lounge Chair.

P.S. Do you have a favorite Herman Miller piece? I'm in the Aeron chair for most of the day in the studio. It's probably been the best preventative health-care investment I've made in the last 10 years.

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MATTHEW'S PLAYLIST
Archangel, Burial
They removed all trace that anything had ever happened here, Hood
City Building, Jóhann Jóhannsson
4, Aphex Twin
Red River Revel, Brian Blade
Kettering, The Antlers
Into The Shadows Of My Embrace, Why?
Get Better John, Mux Mool
Luchini, Camp Lo
Barry Horowitz, Action Bronson (Dr. Lecter)

lifework2012-02-22 at 2.10.00 PM.jpgRepublished in partnership with Lifework
By Amy Feezor