I have always been a long time fan of Risa Fukui. Her dark papercut art shows detail and skill. Her papercuts consists of graphic elements. She majored in graphic design which explains a lot of her influence. Most of her papercut reveal the muscular lines of a person or animal. I love her style, complex and detail!
Here is and interview by PingMag
You used to belong to a papercutting club during your junior high school years and studied graphics at university. What made you return to papercutting again?
When I was a junior high school student, I wasn’t thinking of making papercutting my career. I loved drawing so I went to study graphic arts at an art college but during those years, there were times when I struggled to find my own style of expression. Around that time, there was a class on compositions using tonal colours (coloured papers) and partitioning of people’s faces and that made me go back to papercutting.
Your current style has a lot of graphic elements, is that because of those influences?
Yes, I had always perceived papercutting more as a graphic element rather than a traditional craft and I might not have been able to meet the challenges and press forward as I did if I hadn’t come from the graphic background.
Many of your works have the faces of animals or people as motifs. How come?
Papercutting doesn’t work without a good sketch drawing and I tend to be more motivated when I draw people and animals with a feeling of vitality rather than still life or inorganic objects. For the sketches, I need to draw numerous lines to bring out stereoscopic representations. In the cases of organic objects, they can express unique characteristics depending on the way you draw or combine those lines.
As junior high school student you created a work on the Buddhist deity Kongo Rikishi. It seems you have always had that type of aesthetics since your early days….
At the time, I thought the organic look of the muscles was really attractive and I even went as far as adding the blazing fire of awareness behind the standing deity too. (Laughs)
Your school days sound like full of promising signs. (Laughs) That’s where your aesthetics is coming from…
Maybe, it hasn’t changed in essence. (Laughs) In my second year of junior high school, I made a papercutting of an ear of a corn and the work was chosen to decorate the cover of a writings by the students. I remember having a lot of fun cutting out the fluffs of the corn floss. I really loved the delicate works and I could have gone on cutting it out forever if it wasn’t completed.
How long does one of your papercuts take?
That depends on the size and the motifs of the work, but the actual process usually takes one or two weeks. Once I start cutting out, I can’t make alterations any more so the composition of the original drawing takes quite a lot of time and the colouring process involves choosing sticky coloured paper like stained glasses and that requires much effort too.
Do you ever make mistakes while cutting out?
I concentrate a lot, so I rarely make mistakes.
Lastly, what is the appeal of papercutting?
It’s something that continues to mesmerise me. Personally, I think of papercutting as another self.