For the last 30 years, Japanese artist Masayo Fukuda has devoted herself to the art of papercutting (known as Kirie in Japanese). This traditional art form involves cutting intricate forms from a single sheet of white paper. The finished forms are then contrasted against a black background to reveal their unique design.
“When we talk about traditional paper cutting art, the works are two-dimensional and depthless,” explained Fukuda in an interview with X-Ray Magazine. “However, I would like to express depth and a three-dimensional feeling with my paper cutting art. Therefore, I make large works, carefully using the contrast of the thickness and thinness of the line.”
Her work includes realistic renditions of animals, with a special focus on marine life and underwater creatures, but there are also some floral patterns and portraits every once in a while. “To make one artwork, I combine white paper, artistic skill, cutting techniques with a three-dimensional feeling on one piece of paper,” she says. “There might be a painter who has exceptional painting skills, or a paper cutting artist with excellent cutting skills, but I think that no one has the talents of both. An artist who can produce a three-dimensional feeling with one piece of paper is considered unusual.”
“The way to make a basic paper cutting is to first draw a sketch on thin paper, put it on top of a black sheet of paper, which will become the final work, and then cut the two pieces together,” she explains her creative process. She stresses the sketch is the most important part of the process. “My work is either good or bad based on the sketch and its completeness,” says Fukuda. “A very important part of the process in creating the sketch is calculating the overall balance while considering the reversal, left to right.”
Prepare to be amazed.