Thursday, July 31, 2014

Hand-Torn Newspaper Art - Keiko Suzuki

I was introduced to the unusual recycled paper collages that Seattle artist Keiko Suzuki creates when we followed one another on Twitter. She utilizes an ancient Japanese technique called chigiri-e, but with a twist... instead of traditional mulberry paper, Keiko tears bits of colored newspaper to make original botanical, pet, wildlife, and aquatic images that are softly textured and appealing.


I enjoyed watching a video that shows the steps of her interesting process from start to finish. She uses minimal supplies - just recycled newsprint, awl, brush, water, starch glue, and watercolor paper as the mount board.


Keiko answers a few questions:

I'm curious how you happened to start making torn paper collages. Have you had formal training or are you self-taught?

I am a self-taught artist who earned the special newspaper collage making skill from a how-to book written by Masako Ogawa, the inventor of the technique. After I moved from Tokyo to live in the U.S. with my husband in 2011, he encouraged me to do what I really love. I have always enjoyed being creative with papers, such as making origami and drawing pictures since my childhood. Also, I am a recycling enthusiast. 


One day I stumbled upon Masako Ogawa's instruction book that showed beautiful arts created with newspapers while searching for traditional Japanese cut paper how-to books online. The art style and the concept of creating with discarded newspapers hugely inspired me, and I ordered her book from Japan right away. After about a year of practicing newspaper collage making, I decided to publish my art on Etsy in mid-2012. 

Keiko's Etsy shop is called Bless Hue - clever name! For the Himalayan cat picture below, she painted the supermoon with soy paint and the ikat background with Japanese clay dye using her own handmade stencils. The background is a new technique for Keiko... as an experiment, she shared the image (which she plans to fine-tune) on Instagram to gauge if it should be added to her shop. It definitely caught my eye, so I vote yes.


The video moves along quickly and so I'm curious if you first draw your images by hand?

Thank you very much for watching. It was fast-forwarded from the original duration of 3 hours to 3 minutes. And yes, I sketch the subjects by hand and use them as templates.


Your process appears to be labor-intensive as you carefully add minute details by tracing and scratching layers of paper, but I have a feeling you find it relaxing - it that right?

It is relaxing for me from sketching to finishing with the Asian style stamp as my signature.


What do you enjoy most about the type of art you create?

The most fun parts for me are when I am drawing a subject for a template, and finding the right blank spots in the right colors on newspapers (mostly from advertisements) to create the subject.


Visit Keiko's website, blog (quick, check out her print giveaway that ends today!) and find her on Facebook.


keiko suzuki said...

Hi Ann,

Thank you very much for the featuring my artwork!


Ann Martin said...

My pleasure!

Janine Rudnick said...

Very interesting!

SUGANTHI said...

Such a beautiful video , I have never seen techniques like this before. Really awe-inspiring work.

keiko suzuki said...

Thank you very much for watching my video, and the kind words, SUGANTHI :)

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