As some of our readers may know, 切り絵 kiri-e is Japan's version of paper-cutting art. While some artists work in monochromatic paper, others work with colored paper, and yet others combine both.

Kirie artist 斉藤洋樹 Hiroki Saito (@kiriehiro) is in the latter group.

He recently posted a video that went viral, showing an astonishing before and after "transformation." When his work is flat on an opaque surface, it just looks like a strange sheet of pockmarked grey paper. But then, when he lifts it up to the light... See for yourself:

When the light shines through it, a beautiful natural landscape is revealed. This is Saito's work entitled 君と蒼と (kimi to ao to | you and blue-green*), portraying lush green trees and a pond in the Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden in Tokyo.

* 蒼 ao is a traditional Japanese color word which can either mean blue or blue-green.

Saito adds color to his work by attaching colored cellophane with spray glue to the back of the paper cutout. This makes his works "come to life" when a light source shines behind them. He uses this technique to portray both natural and urban landscapes to astonishing effects. According to his artist profile, he describes himself as someone who "cuts out pieces of the world."

The video has garnered over 106,000 likes and 15,200 retweets at the time of writing, also eliciting comments such as:

  • "Wow! I couldn't help but express my astonishment out loud when I saw this."
  • "This is a stunning example of art using shadow and light. Its beauty exceeded my imagination."
  • "This is so different from the paper cutouts I know."
  • "The lighting looks like it could either the moon or the summer sun. I'm so impressed by these paper cutouts that can be seen in so many different ways!"

If you like this work, you can purchase an acrylic block version of it on his online store here.

Follow his Twitter and Instagram to see more of his stunning kiri-e creations.

By - grape Japan editorial staff.