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Saturday, February 4, 2017

Paper Sculptures Take On Life Of Their Own

Creepy? Sure… but it is amazing … especially when you consider that each of these sculptures was created using rolled strips of wet newspaper.

Female Japanese artist Hitotsuyama Chie (一ツ山チエ, surname first) is a phenomenon.

Hitotsuyama Chie made me wonder if the mammal was real and had suffered some sort of oil spill... but no... yet another fine example of her sculpture ability!

Born in Fuji-shi, Shizuoka-ken, Japan in 1982, and graduating from the Department of Design at Tokyo Polytechnic University in 2004, Hitotsuyama makes the type of sculpture that I would proudly exhibit in my home—if I had the space.

She shapes the tightly rolled newspaper strips not only into animals—sometimes life-sized—but also Japanese gods.

If you didn't know better, you'd swear it was real.
However, since we have true physical references for the animals, taking a glimpse of a lizard or sea lion or wolf… you do a double take… they look so lifelike with all of the texture her artwork provides.

Using this rolled strips of wet newspaper technique is something Hitotsuyama has come by naturally, as her family had owned a traditional paper strip manufacturing facility in Shizuoka…

It was actually owned by her grandfather… and as a child she would wander through the factory, and stare in awe at  the old, wooden equipment. 

…and it is in that very same building that Hitotsuyama practices her art… instead of creating new paper, she recycles old newsprint as art material.

Hitotsuyama says: “Old thrown out newspapers attracted me as a media, not only because it is easily obtained but also it is an accumulation of the history and stories of human behavior. Whilst making my work, I sometimes pick up a random old newspaper and find articles and recall some memories or even find some past incident anew.”

A close-up shows the texture Hitotsuyama Chie achieves on her sculptures.
She adds, “Newspapers vary in texture and printed ink also has variations which make it a most interesting media with which to work.”

As a former newspaper journalist myself, and a collector of paper ephemera (sports cards, ukiyo-e, century-old tobacco cards featuring aviation and comic books, to name a few)… I can dig what Hitotsuyama is saying and doing.

The life-sized rhino was actually Hitotsuyama Chie's first sculpture.
She says that when she creates her sculptures, she carefully contours the curves and animal shapes with each single string of old newspaper that she makes herself.

Whatever… it’s gorgeous stuff.

Visit Hitotsuyama’s website for more views into her art.

Andrew Joseph

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