Sara Orozco

Artist Sara Orozco will open her gallery exhibit “Eroticism Is” on Friday at the Main Street Galley. Staff photo by Dustin Safranek

Sara Dove Orozco's exhibit at the Main Street Gallery, which will open on Oct. 2, encourages people to examine their relationships through a traditional style of colorful art.

 "It's exploring how people express love and show affection," Orozco said of the "Eroticism Is" exhibit during a Thursday interview with the Daily News.

The exhibit features work created through "papel picado," a medium that uses intricately cut pieces of paper to create a scene or image. The pieces mainly feature skeletons.

The work Orozco puts on display in "Eroticism Is" aims to highlight ideas about love and relationships.

Orozco called the exhibit a "celebration of love."

"It's hopefully an opportunity for viewers to think about how they express love and show affection," Orozco said.

The exhibit "depicts a lot of couples, but I think it's also for single people too, to think about what they'd like to cultivate in their relationships," she said.

Orozco has been working in the papel picado style for years, having originally been introduced to the medium in a high school art class.

However, she didn't always find work in a creative field.

"I didn't go to school for art or anything, but all while I was in college, I actually had a goal for myself," she said.

That goal was to create at least one "substantial" piece per quarter — a goal that she ended up surpassing throughout college.

After college, Orozco got her first job as a legal assistant at a law firm. She noted that her family often encouraged her to pursue a career in business.

"The work was interesting, but I ultimately ended up putting a picture of a woodshop on my (computer) desktop background and projecting myself into this creative space while I was at work," she remembered. "And I ultimately decided, you know what, I don't know why I had never really seriously thought about working and doing anything creative or hands-on."

Orozco quit her job at the firm and took up a position with Seattle Stained Glass. Later, she also began selling some work to restaurants and creating more pieces alongside stained glass creations.

"Since then, I've really just been creating a lot more work," Orozco said.

At first, Orozco followed a traditionally Japanese approach to papel picado, as opposed to the Mexican style that is on display in "Eroticism Is."

Orozco noted that she and her family had been to Mexico many times, and that she hopes to one day start spreading her art in the country.

When done in the Japanese style, the pieces created are usually a single color and turn out as one single piece.

"So even if it's a three foot by four foot piece of paper, in the end, you can pick it up from two corners and you have a full piece hanging," Orozco explained.

Later, Orozco found herself gravitating to a different approach.

"I started thinking about my art and what I really wanted to make, and kind of finding myself between the two," the artist recalled. "I love the detail of the Japanese cut paper work, but I love the color and playful and celebration of the Mexican cut paper art."

Mexican picado pieces, according to Orozco, are common sights at events like weddings or birthdays.

 "What I love about that is Mexicans, our cut paper art is usually seen in the colorful banners that people have at parties," she said.

Each piece takes around 15 to 25 hours to finish, although Orozco said that number is really dependent on her schedule.

"The basics of (the) art form is you use an X-acto knife and you're cutting paper," Orozco explained.

At the end of the process, the entire creation will be one whole piece.

Orozco hopes that patrons of the Main Street Gallery recognize all the time that goes into creating a piece.

"When people look at it, they see, 'Wow, there's a lot of patience, you have to have a lot of patience to sit and cut and cut and cut,'" Orozco said.

She added, "I think just the intricacy, the delicacy of it, will be really enjoyable."

"Eroticism Is" will open with an in-person reception from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday at that Main Street Gallery.