Thirsty? Well, here’s a bottle of water…

Or maybe not... While the header image above looks almost lifelike, it is actually the all-too-detailed cutout of artist SouMa (@SouMaNoKirie). And definitely not a photo.

Image reproduced with permission from SouMa (@SouMaNoKirie)

As you can see, SouMa specializes in three-dimensional paper-cutting. The artist lives in Shimane prefecture, where she began her craft while still an elementary school student. Naturally, her numerous fans are captivated by how life-like her work can be.

Meaningful work

Image reproduced with permission from SouMa (@SouMaNoKirie)

SouMa made the featured water bottle following the recent flooding in Shimane. Although deceptively straightforward in design, the piece took her about three or four days to complete.

When talking about creating, SouMa admits that once she has a general image in mind, she can relax and enjoy executing it. However, she is usually forced to work on many projects at the same time. She often becomes busy switching between the design and production stages of various projects, so she enjoys any time when she can focus on a single creation.

That said, some of her work can be rather complex. Occasionally she has larger-scale jobs that may be several meters in size. These projects must be divided into smaller pieces, which is awkward and can be challenging at times for the artist to properly create.

Another cutout artist

It seems cutout art is experiencing something of a trend. A similar artist trending on Twitter incorporates even more detail into their work. As you can see below, artist Tsuru (@trtn_tap) cuts out caligraphy to great effect:

"You open the curtain and water the flowers. I watch over with a cup of coffee. This is our morning routine now. Stop the noisy alarm and morning kiss. Full of the smell of freshly baked toast. Laugh to the last minute (before you go to work) It's completely different from the morning when we started dating. A usual day that I spend with you A pleasant and happy day begins I said, "I'm going" And I hugged you goodbye at the front door as usual"

Tsuru noted that it took her 20 hours to cut out the entire piece. Many users reacted to this fantastic work:

  • "Is this a paper cutout? Are you sure? Is it a paper cutout? You must be kidding? I stared at it like, 'is it actually a paper cutout… You said it takes days to cut out the characters. It is very wonderful! Thank you for your hard work.”
  • “It’s just amazing!”
  • “She’s talented! I want to buy it.”
  • “It's so nice that I just stare at it. I didn’t realize how moving paper cutouts could be.”

Hyakunin Isshu cutout

There is yet another fantastic cutout artist, Yoko (@nise_kenyu), worth checking out on Twitter:

"Today is the day of 'Hyakunin Isshu' (A traditional Japanese card game), so please checkout out this Hyakunin Isshu cutout. Each are cut from a single piece of paper."

Readers familiar with the Japanese school game karuta will recognize the design of these cards. Indeed, the pieces are striking, and noticing the artists' hands in the background helps put the detail into perspective. Followers reacted:

  • "Incredibly detailed ...! I love your delicate cutouts!”
  • “They are so beautiful and so amazing that I got goosebumps ...! Too wonderful….”
  • “Wow... It's beautiful no matter how many times I look at it. I can't believe they are cut from a single sheet of paper. You must focus very hard on making them, right? ‘Hyakunin Isshu’ day is great!”

Indeed, if you are anything like me, the detail of these cutouts took you by surprise. Find more by each artist on their individual Twitter profiles. Enjoy!

By - Luke Mahoney.