Old newspapers often have a second life, whether they are wrapped around a hot, greasy pakora or used as a temporary car mat. However, Chie Hitotsuyama sees cheap, off-white newsprint and is drawn towards it with a desire to reincarnate the discarded. The result — meticulously toned and structured sculptures, the thin paper mirroring every detail of her animal subjects, from rabbits to rhinoceroses. And this is not some cutesy, small-scale origami, Hitotsuyama creates life-sized sculptures comprised of a deep array of moistened, wet newspaper.
Hitotsuyama’s childhood was defined by her grandfather’s old timey paper-strip factory in Fuji, Japan which turned out to be wondrous playground for a young creative mind. Her creativity clung to her with a passion and thus Hitotsuyama graduated from the Department of Design at Tokyo Polytechnic University and specialized in two-dimensional mediums. However, she was attracted to sculpture, and newspaper appeared to be both a nostalgic and inviting mode of expression.
“Old thrown out newspapers attracted me as a medium, not only because they are easily obtained, but also, they are an accumulation of history and contain stories of human behavior. I see the correlation in how humans repeat their own histories as well as experience the cycles of life and death,” Hitotsuyama commented to the Huffington Post.
She continued to explain her affinity to creating animals out of newspaper, “Since the first sculptural piece I made, a rhinoceros, I have continued to sculpt forms of animals and while doing so I have become acutely aware of the life force in all beings. I admire the animals I study. I am in awe of their strength and survival in unforgiving nature.”
Hitotsuyama travels the world for her exhibits, just recently finshed up a show in Lancaster, California. She has converted her grandfather’s old paper manufacturing warehouse into her studio. Enjoy her stunning work below and check out more artwork and future exibitions on her website.