Japanese artist Nahoko Kojima has been fine-tuning her classic Japanese paper-cutting technique since 1987, when she was 6 years old, and it shows. She’s known for her large-scale, single-sheet creations, and her latest, titled Byaku (which means white), gracefully depicts a life-sized swimming polar bear. Cut from one sheet of roughly 10’x10′ washi paper, Byaku took Kojima seven months from concept to creation, and was her most challenging piece to date.
Kojima writes, “I did lots of sketches and research about how they live and behave … thought very carefully about the paper to use for the piece and chose a white washi which has low kouzo. This makes the the paper go yellow after being in the sun for a long time. This was perfect because the polar bearʼs coat also goes through a similar change. … I want people to enjoy looking at this piece, thatʼs it.”
Kojima is also known for taking traditionally flat-hung pieces and liberating them to float in gallery spaces by careful hanging.
Here is the video showing Byaku‘s details and featuring insights from Kojima:
And here are an array of shots, full and detail, of Byaku, as well as Kojima’s other works, including Cloud Leopard: