You Won’t Believe The Stunning Portraits Kumi Yamashita Creates Out Of Nails And Thread

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You might remember Kumi Yamashita from one of our October posts featuring her extraordinary collection of works with light and shadow. If you recall, Yamashita subtly manipulated materials such as paper, fabric and wood to strategically use lighting on them in order to create shadow art installations. Her imagination and impressive craft skills lead her to create this new ongoing series entitled Constellation (a title that references the Greek tradition of tracing mythical figures in the sky).

This body of work consists of three materials: a wooden panel painted a solid white, thousands of small galvanized nails, and a single, unbroken, common sewing thread. She creates these stunning portraits by using the single,unbroken thread wrapped around thousands of nails. The task at hand is laborious, but the result is well worth the work.

The Japanese artist’s piece from this collection, Mana (an 40h x 30w cm portrait of her niece), was recently selected as one of 50 finalists for the Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition, a triennial event being held at the Smithsonian Museum’s National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. Yamashita’s artwork was selected from over 3,000 entries and is on display at the National Portrait Gallery until February 23, 2014. (via Twisted Sifter)

Kumi Yamashita’s Shadow Art Creates Stories from Shadows

Kumi Yamashita - Installation

Kumi Yamashita - Installation

Kumi Yamashita - Installation

Kumi Yamashita - Installation

Kumi Yamashita’s work is nothing without light and shadow. By subtly manipulating materials such as paper, fabric and wood, she uses strategic lighting to create shadow art installations. Yamashita focuses on the human figure and proves that an attention to detail make all the difference. She makes tiny cuts to paper and carefully drapes fabric. Coupled with a careful consideration of folding and lighting, these pieces are a feat of engineering. A minimal amount of material creates a narrative with a range of emotions. Yamashita writes about her work, stating:

I sculpt using light and shadow. I construct single or multiple objects and place them in relation to a single light source. The complete artwork is therefore comprised of both the material (the solid objects) and the immaterial (the light or shadow).

Veil (directly above) is one of Yamashita’s newest works. This piece uses fabric, light and shadow to depict a female figure laying down. Looking at it, with the spotlight shines perfectly on a sheet of fabric. It feels like we’re looking at a ghost, but it isn’t unnerving or spooky. Instead, it feels sensual, like we are the voyeur to a private time; It’s a memory. Environment, in this case, is also important to the piece. Installed on a pedestal and devoid of adjacent works, it is isolated, making it feel even more like a moment in time.

Yamashita is an engineer, creating incredible forms that are realistically rendered. They aren’t blocky or awkwardly composed; her silhouettes are very fluid. At different vantage points, you wouldn’t think that a seated figure came from a sheet of paper. But once you do, it instantly elevates her shadows. The amount of craft put in each installation is inspired.

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Awesome Video of the Day: Kumi Yamashita

As a bit of a followup to the previous post on shadow art, here is a video on Kumi Yamashita. Her work is incredibly innovative. After looking at the images and wondering how she made them, watching this video is quite insightful.

Shadow Art

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It is time to up your game, shadow puppeteers. This morning presents you with some shadow art that will challenge your routine. The main artists featured here are Kumi Yamashita plus the art team Tim Noble and Sue Webster (who are responsible for the above image). Even if you’re afraid of your own shadow, don’t miss out on the goodies after the jump.