Using only old newspapers cut into strips and rolled Chie Hitotsuyama creates three-dimensional works depicting wild animals, such as a walrus and a gorilla holding her child in her arms fondly. They are so real you almost expect them to breathe.
“I may use wood for the trunk portion of the skeleton when I create a big animal that measures more than two meters,” explains Ms. Hitotsuyama. “But I create my works using only newspapers when they are small animals.” She forms an outline that corresponds to an animal skeleton by pasting twisted newspapers over and over again. Ms. Hitotsuyama says she expresses body hair and wrinkles by gluing little parts made from twisted newspapers onto the outline, as if inserting them. “I make small, twisted paper strips by moistening newspapers cut into thin rectangles and twisting them by hand,” explains Ms. Hitotsuyama. “I change the thickness of those paper strips according to the body parts. Their tone is an important factor, too. Creating a red monkey face starts with looking for paper with red print in a huge volume of newspapers. Red can be in many shades. On top of that, letters are printed in black or gray in the great majority of newspaper pages. Twisting such pages, I’m aiming to achieve expressions of color, including gradations.” A sharp, observant eye for matters down to the smallest details, including accurate shapes of each body part, coats of hair and the density of the hair, and an obsession with painstaking efforts to manufacture delicate parts finely, one by one, breathe life into old newspapers that had once been read.
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