Just a quick glance, Kanako Abe‘s works look like pen illustrations on a white sheet of paper. Instead, you only have to touch the surface to realize that you are far from the art of drawing.
Kanako Abe, of Japanese origin based in Seattle, after working for a period as a costume designer and toolmaker in the San Francisco Bay Area, decided to completely change direction, dedicating herself to a centuries-old art of her country of origin.
Kiri-e (切り絵), a word that derives from the union of “kiri” or cutting and “e” or image, is the traditional Japanese art of paper cutting. The cuttings, besides being used to decorate houses and closed places, have been used for centuries to create templates, called Ise-katagami, to decorate kimonos.
Equipped only with paper and a precision cutter, Kanako Abe creates cut-outs that mix traditional Japanese images in which there is a strong presence of nature and typically Western subjects such as portraits and silhouettes.
As a result, we have surreal, almost dreamlike creations, which when placed on another sheet of paper look like illustrations, but when taken in hand they reveal all their delicacy and fragility.
We have selected some of Kanako Abe’s works, but to find out more visit her Instagram profile.