About Us

On the 24th of February 2022 the invasion of Ukraine marked the most significant attack and humanitarian crisis for a European state since World War II. A country of some 48 million people saw their lives and homes shattered, displacing nearly a quarter of the population.

Before the outbreak of the conflict Ukraine was becoming an increasingly attractive location for the entertainment industry and was experiencing a boom in production, both local and international, not to mention being home to some of the most skilled artists in visual effects and video game design. However, with the country now a war zone, this industry effectively ended overnight, leaving tens of thousands unemployed and with an uncertain future.

To try and help rectify this, US based filmmakers Alex Topaller and Dan Shapiro attempted to connect artists displaced by the war with friends and colleagues in the design, VFX and production fields in Poland to help them get lodging and work.  “But suddenly” Topaller says “we started getting messages from artists who needed work urgently but weren't able to leave Ukraine”. Initially Topaller offered to send money but repeatedly the reply from those affected was that “they wanted work, not charity”.

As such, the pair proposed instead they would commission art & illustrations informing the artists that “it can be about anything - and that's how Paper Planes was born”. [read more on wired.com

For some artists Paper Planes has provided financial help at a time when it was sorely needed, for others it's been an emotional outlet, but for most it has been a way to educate, make a stand and document the truth about the war in Ukraine.

Arranged into a timeline, Paper Planes strives to document the day-by-day events in a chronological manner as seen through the eyes of the Ukrainian creatives. Each piece is a deeply personal expression of lived experience, as individual and unique as the artists that created them amid an unimaginable and unrelenting conflict.

Paper Planes is a not-for-profit initiative maintained and edited by volunteers.

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about the war in Ukraine