Creates a picture by cutting lines to make new space in a piece of paper.


KI RI GA is the right word to explain about works of Risa Fukui. She is one of the up-and-coming Kirie artist who creates a picture by cutting lines to make new space in a piece of paper. Kirie is one of the traditional technique of Japanese craft which is making a picture by cutting both white and black paper and putting colour paper between space. KI RI GA is a name of her first book launched at this November.

There are very sensitive lines and carefully considered colour plan on the bold graphical pattern. Her works exists on the superb balance. Animals and human beings described in her work are really vivid as it is alive.

Even if using modern and western motif, it reveals “Japanese element” although it is not deliberately. This allows that the motion of organic objects isemphasise . Moreover, her projects became broadly such as design for car’s seat, sneaker, T-shirts and making animation. I interviewed with an artists RisaFukui.


I heard you met Kirie because you were join in a Kirie club at your junior high school but you stop doing kirie after that. Why you restart creating Kirie when you are in the art school?

I had majored in Graphic Design at Tama Art University. In my age, graphic design was more analog; for example, using colour papers to think of pattern, dividing a face to make a construction of colour and drawing a line by hands. It was familiar to use a paper.
There were homework at a class to create works by any kinds of techniques when I was at second grade of my university. At that time, I remember I was good at makingKirie because I was using a paper at usual. I was looking for my style so that a lot of my classmates were superior to me in terms of drawing and making a picture in water-colour. Then, I triedKirie and it was really fun and worked out. I am making Kirie since then.

How long does it take time to create a work?

For example, I am making one A3 and one A4 white and black works per week for weekly magazine. It is actually hard. If it is necessary to put colours, it will take more. It usually needs two or three weeks to create a piece of work.

As you said, you are working on a regular project for the novel of Natsuo Kirino at Shukan-Bunshu, a weekly magazine. How do you find?

I am glad to have this opportunity as I would like to make pictures for novel. The design should be representation of a story so that it allows to understand of a storyimmediately even if people have not read before.


How do you describe your first art book “KI RI GA”?

I would like to emphasise that my work is art rather than Kirie for hobby (The sounds of Kirie insists more hobby than professional art). That is why I used a words KI RI GA.


You had projects of collaboration such as a pair of sneakers and CD jackets. What does most impress you?

If I choose, it is a work of CD jacket for Mika Nakashima, a singer in 2004. This projects gave a chance to be my name around. By Collaborating with her, I could challenge new type of pattern like Medusa becauseMika’s idea and world came into my work. It was like that my hidden creativity was brought by her.

© Sony Music Associated Records Inc.

Kirie normally draw on two dimension. Are there anything you pay attention when you create Kirie for three dimension?

It is the purpose on appearing a work organically by using shapes of an object itself. For example, a carp is choice by according to shape of a sneaker. I designed plans for the car’s seat as if it is alive, and I created different design for driver’s seat, side and back seat. I would like to make something fun even if people are not sitting.


What kind of Kirie are you looking for?

I am interested in bringing active element and movement within flat and silence space of Kirie. It is essential to cut a line for Kirie. I think that my originality is in organic and vivid lines. It is most important there is full of strongness and vitality from my works.

What inspires you?

I am interested in something alive such as plant and animal, and things move like smoke. Additionally, it is also interesting something fire my imagination although it is invisible. For example, I cut a movement of music from the drums for the advertisement of space shower TV.


Are there anything you refer in terms of structure and colour?

I influenced by Keisuke Serizawa, a traditional craft artist to be known of Kataezome. His works are unique because of bringing colour of western art and Bingata in Okinawa into Kirie. Actually, there is a private museum of him near to my home and I went there often when I was at a university. I am from Sizuoka remain a lot of handcrafts such as doll and I like it. I learned many things from handcraft artists and respect them; for instance,Keisuke Serizawa and Soetsu Yanagi, called a father of the movement of folk handcraft.

What kinds of art you like?

I like Torayan of Kenji Yanobe as I like something is big and simply fun. I also like a Chinese artist, Cai Guo-Qiang. It is appealing me because of its dynamism and uncomplicated interpretation. It might be that I am creating small and sensitive works.
I notice that your works exists perfect balance between dynamism and sensitivity. Dynamism is important to create Kirie. I cut a line without hesitation. 

Do you have a plan to exhibit your works?

The solo exhibition is coming up in March, 2008. I really look forward it. It is very short span when I work on project by clients. I would like to increase to work on own projects. Moreover, I would like to be seen real Kirie, a cut paper because my works at magazine or CD jackets is already on a paper.


Risa Fukui
Born in Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan. Risa Fukui is working extensively as a Kirie (paper cutout) artist. The pinpoint precision of the depictions in her works with Japanese paper cutout style became a popular topic of conversation. She is expected to become a leading figure in the Japanese paper cutout field with her free style of broad activities including the sneakers design in collaboration with Reebok, which was her first attempt for product design, the jacket design for a Japanese musician, Mika Nakashima, stage decorations, collaboration with brands participated in Tokyo Collection, original film production, advertisement, posters, etc.She received in JACA Japan Visual Art Exhibition Special Prize in 1999.
Blog: http://artgene.blog.ocn.ne.jp/fukui/

Date: 14th March – 13th April 2008
Place: Gallery ef
Address: 2-19-18 Kaminarimon, Taito-ku, Tokyo
Tel: 03-3841-0442
Opening Hours: 12:00-21:00 Closed on Tuesday
Organized by PHIL, Gallery ef

KI RI GA – Risa Fukui Kirie Collection
Specification: 24.8 x 18.2 x 1.4 cm
Price: 3,045 yen (Tax Inc.)
Published by: Information Center Press
Released at: Nov 2007
ISBN-10: 4795835330
ISBN-13: 978-4795835337

Text: Wakana Kawahito

[Help wanted] Inviting volunteer staff / pro bono for contribution and translation. Please e-mail to us.