Akira Nagaya is a Japanese artist whose intricate cut-paper creations largely depict the beauty of nature. They are so skillfully done that you might be surprised to learn that Nagaya is self taught in paper-cutting, also known as kirie in Japan. He first discovered this type of art about 30 years while working at a sushi shop. There, he had to learn sasabaran, which is a technique used to create decorations by cutting slices into bamboo leaves. Nagaya found that he was naturally talented and enjoyed the process, too.
These small cut paper pieces fool the eye into thinking that they’re something like energetic pen sketches or decomposing leaves. The precise craft makes them appear as though they’ve been cut by machine, not by hand, because of the incredible, minuscule details.
Although the artist had been creating these pieces for years, it wasn’t until much later that his work was discovered. Eventually, he opened his own restaurant and displayed his kirie on the walls. A local newspaper came to write about the establishment, and while there remarked on his artwork. They encouraged him to show it in galleries, and you can follow Nagaya on Facebook to see his new cutouts. (Via Spoon and Tamago)
Paper artist Rogan Brown, featured previously here, finds an exquisite beauty in even the most deadly pathogens, of which he constructs astonishingly detailed replicas from thinly cut and layered paper. For Outbreak, he maps out a stunning typography of microbes, neurons, and human cells. Renowned for his fastidious process, Brown spends up to five months on a single piece, a true labor of love that serves as a testament to the reverence he holds for the organic world. Here, the smallest microcosms of the human body are expanded, made vivid and sparkling. In complex webs, they form an impressive interlocking network that is heartbreakingly delicate and fragile.
Where disease-causing pathogens and microbes are typically disparaged as unsavory or unclean, Brown’s masterful and unparalleled craft recreates them in dazzling white, like organic snowflakes possessing endless wonderment. In a fast-paced culture increasingly dominated by technology, Brown draws inspiration from the likes of the romantic poet William Blake, who married his love for the earth with a thirst for the divine and mysterious in nature. While he begins from scientific sketches by biologists like Ernst Haekel, the artist ultimately surrenders to the currents of his own imagination, allowing for the warmth of the human mind to color and transfigure the microscopic forms that make up our bodies. After all, isn’t our own evolution and living existence the most intricate and miraculous artwork of all? Take a look. (via Colossal)
Germany based Kuin Heuff paints portraits on paper which she then cuts up from the layers of paint into ornate lace-like structures. These intricate cuttings create a complex web of patterns that reference everything from anatomical drawings to woodcut prints. (via)
Eric Standley’s work is made out of hundreds (yes hundreds!) of sheets of paper that are laser cut with dense geometric patterns. Looking like 3D stained glass from far away, these layered images transport you to another time and place with their meditative quality. What’s most fascinating about Standley’s works are the areas where the paper floats over from one side to the other creating deep caverns with up to 3 inches of depth. (via visual news)
Owen Gildersleeve’s cut paper illustrations must take a million razor blades and lots of patience to create. From book covers to ads Owen swings his blade at cut paper with no fear creating ultra detailed imagery for you to feast your eyes on. The only question is whether his business cards are also hand cut one at a time. Now that would be intense!
I’ve been eyeballing Michael Velliquette’s ultra-detailed cut paper reliefs for a while now and they continually get better and better with every year. Having started with surreal landscapes and figurative narratives his new works pictured here have morphed into self contained, ornamental abstractions that look more like rainbow bright totem poles or stretched out musical instruments that have just been painted by a psychedelic poster factory.
Catch these and other works by Michael in NYC from April 2nd-May 8th at DCKT Gallery.