Earlier this month, we talked about Japanese artist Akira Nagaya. An expert in kamikiri, the art of crafting intricate paper cutouts, Nagaya first caught our eye with his takes on classic anime icons such as Totoro, Son Goku, and Pikachu.
Japanese animation isn’t Nagaya’s only inspiration, as we can see in his other creations that capture the delicate beauty of nature and the changing of the seasons.
As a matter of fact, Nagaya’s original inspiration to become a kamikiri artist, or kirishi, was a far more traditional aspect of Japanese culture than anime. 26 years ago, the now-47-year-old Nagaya watched a sushi chef carefully putting incisions into a bamboo leaf to add as garnish to a diner’s plate. Captivated by the techniques he’d seen, Nagaya became a self-taught kirishi, eventually reaching a level of skill that allows him to produce some truly amazing pieces.
Just as cherry blossoms are a symbol of spring, in Japan, fireworks are evocative of summer. Obviously, Nagaya’s artwork wouldn’t last too long in the presence of an open flame, but some creative lighting allows him to recreate a lit sparkler in paper form.
For generations, Japan has gotten a few moments’ respite from the sweltering summer temperatures by watching goldfish swimming soothingly in a pool of cool water.
On the other hand, some opt to embrace the heat at summer festivals with taiko drumming.
Eventually, though, things start to cool off as autumn arrives and the leaves turn color.
We haven’t been able to find any snow-covered vistas in Nagaya’s collection, though, so we’re guessing winter isn’t his favorite season. So how does he spend the coldest months of the year? We can’t say for sure, but looking at some of his other creations leads us to think he might pass the time leafing through Japanese art books, since he’s done an astounding job recreating Hokusai’s The Great Wave off Kanagawa and Fine Wind, Clear Morning.
Or, does Nagaya attend kabuki performances and read up on folklore?
None of those hobbies would surprise us, and we’ve also got a strong hunch Nagaya spends at least a little time with a calligraphy brush in his hand.
Honestly though, we’re not sure he needs to, since he can already perfectly replicate brushstrokes with some paper and a cutter.
▼ This kanji, read takumi, refers to a master craftsman. We’d say it’s appropriate.