You can see a lot of great art and breathtaking photos on SNS. Every internet native is keenly aware of this, and digital NFTs appear poised to redefine the online art game—for the better. That said, awhile back I came across an Instagram artist who makes stylish cutouts, unlike anything I've seen before. Recently, Hiroki Goto (@hiroki_rie) posted this piece:

"Light wings. I wanted to create the effect of overlapping of feathers, but it seems like I still need to practice. I’ve made butterfly cutouts many times, but I wanted to try this new technique! It almost looks life-like, but in fact, it isn't real. Indeed, I wanted to make an exquisite design. Have a wonderful and relaxing day."

As you can see, this butterfly design is striking. It almost seems to be flying in the sky. A benefit of Hiroki's captivating cutout art is that a scenic background creates a strong effect. Indeed, Hiroki's Instagram leverages this as he photographs his art contrasted against blue skies, sunsets on the beach, fields of flowers and so on. The cutouts also create a shadow which adds to the realism.

Hiroki’s followers reacted:

  • “The contrast between the pale blue of the sky and the butterfly is mysterious.”
  • “It looks like it’s flying away”
  • “It seems so delicate. How amazing.”
  • “It’s nice! So mystical.”
  • “I want to touch the wings. They seem soft.”

He also made this beautiful piece:

"Lips. I cut the same design a year ago. This time it’s larger and more detailed."

As you can see, it seems almost like a sketch. Personally, I can’t help but be reminded of the Rolling Stones logo.

Perhaps you noticed that each of Hiroki’s posts features either a rabbit or crocodile emoticon in the descriptor. His wife designed the posts with a rabbit--which are still cut by Hiroki--while the crocodile posts were Hiroki's idea from start to finish. This artistic couple works to create the pieces featured on his Instagram page together.

More top-tier designs

Hiroki and his wife's page also features this:

"'和邇’ you can read this kanji as ‘wani’ which means crocodile. The name ‘和邇’ wani’ comes from an event described in the historical records of ancient Japan. There, a white rabbit from Inaba uses a crocodile as a bridge to cross from Okino island to Inaba. Crocodiles are often characterized as sea monsters. However, some say that ‘和邇’ wani’ actually refers to a shark. The crocodile and rabbit emoticons that I often put on my work are reminiscent of this and the inspiration behind this piece."

As you can see, this cutout depicts a shark. Given the connection to ancient Japan, this is easily one of my favorite pieces of the artist. Naturally, I’m not alone—more than 400 people liked this post and reacted:

  • “You're the best.”
  • “It’s just amazing.”
  • “Wow, these thin lines comprise a masterpiece! It’s too cool”

Of course, I find Hiroki's art to be very moving. I noticed all of his pieces are original designs, so I reached out and requested a personalized order of one of my favourite animals: the deer.

Indeed, I requested this design, and he made it to order. Pretty cool:

Reproduced with permission from Hiroki Goto (@hiroki_rie)

What do you think? I was amazed by the detail of the deer’s fur:

Reproduced with permission from Hiroki Goto (@hiroki_rie)

Sure enough, the cutout is even more striking contrasted against the morning sky. If you'd like to see more of hiroki_rie’s work or order from him, you can follow the artist on Instagram.

By - Luke Mahoney.