One Piece at a Time: Artist recreates '69 Mustang using paper

One Piece at a Time: Artist recreates '69 Mustang using paper

New York-based artist Jonathan Brand has built a 1969 Ford Mustang entirely out of paper – in original size and with every detail faithfully recreated. The exhibit is currently being displayed at the Hosfelt Gallery in New York, attracting much interest.

The title of the project is 'One Piece at a Time', a reference to Johnny Cash’s song in which a factory worker dreams of one day owning one of the Cadillacs produced at his workplace. In the song, the worker steals one piece at a time in order to assemble a complete car himself. Brand empathises with the character in the song: he is from a working-class background himself, and says his grandfather built the production line the song makes reference to. The artist and his father also previously restored three classic cars, including the 1969 Mustang on which the exhibit is based.

One Piece at a Time: Artist recreates '69 Mustang using paper One Piece at a Time: Artist recreates '69 Mustang using paper
One Piece at a Time: Artist recreates '69 Mustang using paper One Piece at a Time: Artist recreates '69 Mustang using paper

The paper Mustang began its life as a 3D computer model, before Brand used a large format printer to translate it into a flat inkjet print. The numbered and labelled pieces were then cut, folded and glued, like a complex three-dimensional jigsaw puzzle. Brand’s artistic principle of working one piece at a time means “not always knowing what the sum of these parts will be or how they will interact”. Despite this, the accuracy and attention to detail is stunning, illustrated by the spark plugs of the faithfully recreated engine and stitching patterns on the doorcards.

One Piece at a Time: Artist recreates '69 Mustang using paper

The One Piece at a Time sculpture is being displayed at the Hosfelt Gallery until 29 October. For more information on the paper Mustang and Jonathan Brand’s other artistic work, visit his website.

Text: Jan Baedeker
Photos: Laura DeSantis-Olsson