Artist Philomena Marano will never forget those first spine-tingling moments on the famous Wonder Wheel Ferris wheel at Coney Island in New York City—that slow crank of gears and the swing of the passenger cars rising up, until the whole park reveals itself in a riot of color and sound. “I remember how the light fractured through the spokes,” she recalls of those sky-high jaunts. As a child growing up in Brooklyn, these thrill ride experiences became “another world we could disappear into for hours. It was true escapism.”

She brings this same Wonder Wheel perspective to her prismatic art, reimagining these spectacles in intricate and painstaking layers of cut paper. Part observation and part emotive expression, these works explore landscapes both magical and mundane: from amusement park attractions to roadside tire shops. 


(Click spread below for a closer look)

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