Fukuda Masayo, also known as Kiri Ken (Cutting Sword), works in the Kirie technique. This is a traditional form of Japanese art where designs are cut from a single sheet of paper as opposed to multiple adjoining sheets and it’s a craft that I’ve always admired due to the amount of concentration, patience and attention to detail it requires.
The artist’s first encounter with paper cutting was when she was a high school student where she made a birthday card for her friend but she felt that it was unsatisfactory to send just a square card, hence, she cut the paper into a heart shape.
After that experience, it piqued her interest in paper cutting and when giving greeting cards to her family members and friends, she started exploring with motifs such as flower bouquets and girls’ profiles.
On her process, she first sketches on the back of her paper. This stage is the most important stage according to her because whether her work turns out nice or not largely depends on her sketch, especially cause she draws it flipped and to me that’s something I find super impressive cause my own drawings always turn out strange when I flip them. She also likes to make larger works so that she can have more contrast in the thickness of her lines.
One of the more common themes in her works are marine life and anything underwater because she’s always been fascinated with deep sea creatures and the creepy/mysterious atmosphere they give off. Also she hopes to increase the number of people interested in marine life and the beauty of the sea through her artwork in order to bring attention to ocean conservation and coral reef management. She’s also considering making pieces with these ocean problems as their theme in her future works.
All in all, I really like Fukuda Masayo’s works because other than her exquisite craftsmanship, she is also able to visually create so much depth in such a flat material through the use of negative space executed by the contrasting thickness of her lines.
Japanese Artist Hand-Cuts Intricate Octopus From a Single Sheet of Paper
masayo fukuda cuts intricate kirie octopus from single piece of paper