As his pseudonym 我流切紙人 Garyū Kirigami-nin (literally, "self-styled paper-cutter") indicates, Japanese paper artist Toshiaki Kawasaki 川﨑利昭 (@garyukirigami) takes a unique approach to the art of paper-cutting. Many of his intricate artworks look like sculptures, as they are made with paper that has been cut out and then folded into three-dimensional forms. His amazing, colorful and realistic works are inspired by the beauty of natural forms such as sea creatures and insects and imbued with his own artistic sensibilities.

Another amazing aspect of this self-styled paper artist's creations is their size. Although many of his works are true to scale, others are miniatures, reproducing delicate creatures in astonishing detail at unbelievably tiny dimensions.

Therefore, it comes as no surprise that Kawasaki has been commissioned by insect museums, aquariums, and other institutions to create works. As an event producer and organizer, he has also planned various exhibitions and workshops.

Let's take a look at some of his work:

Goldfish (transparent skeletal specimen style)

Among his masterpieces are transparent skeletal specimen-like works such as these goldfish. Based on the skeletons of living creatures, he adds his own unique arrangements and colorful finishes. The texture of the translucent goldfish created with this technique is so remarkable that it's hard to believe they are made of paper.

You can admire more of them on his website in the Japanese blog platform "note" here.

Reproduced with permission from 我流切紙人 garyūkirigaminin (@garyukirigami)

Kawasaki has also created works in this style inspired by giant oarfish, coelacanths and Ocean sunfish, lionfish, and more.

Signal crayfish

These Signal crayfish are examples of his realistic works. As you can see, the attention to detail is remarkable. Crustaceans, including Signal crayfish, seem to be one of his specialties.

Reproduced with permission from 我流切紙人 garyūkirigaminin (@garyukirigami)

You can see more of them here.


Kawasaki is also inspired by the fascinating world of insects, as you can see in this realistic butterfly and stunning blue dragonfly:

Reproduced with permission from 我流切紙人 garyūkirigaminin (@garyukirigami)

His insect works range from simple designs for papercraft classes to incredibly detailed, realistic finishes (see the praying mantis on the right compared to the traditional cutout model on the left in the tweet below)... unique composite works that surprise viewers, such as this praying mantis egg sac with hundreds of mantis larvae coming out of it.

As small as a grain of rice

A perfect example of Kawasaki's impressive skill creating intricately detailed creatures in tiny dimensions are these scorpions barely larger than a grain of Japanese rice. For scale, the one yen coin in the photo below measures 20 mm in diameter. That's tiny!

Reproduced with permission from 我流切紙人 garyūkirigaminin (@garyukirigami)

Here are more of his miniatures, from mini centipedes to baby Orchid mantis and conventional mantis larvae and many others:

Miniature dinosaurs in a bottle

Kawasaki isn't limited to extant species. His imagination also reaches millions of years in the past. Going back to his skeletal specimen-type creations, Kawasaki creates dinosaurs and other ancient creatures in miniature form and exhibits them in bottles. It creates the illusion of being in a laboratory somewhere.

Reproduced with permission from 我流切紙人 garyūkirigaminin (@garyukirigami)

He also creates realistic seaweed...

...and many other denizens of the sea, not to mention beautifully designed paper cutouts of butterflies (some of which are currently featured on his online store here).

To enjoy more works from garyūkirigaminin, be sure to follow him on Twitter for updates and information on his upcoming exhibitions and opportunities to buy his work, and read his blog.

By - Ben K.