Home / Art / Finely Cut Paper Art Looks Like Beautifully Inked Illustrations of Spirit Animals

Finely Cut Paper Art Looks Like Beautifully Inked Illustrations of Spirit Animals

Delicate Paper-Cut Illustrations by Kanako Abe

San Francisco-based artist Kanako Abe creates hand-cut, intricate paper art, that at first glance look like pen drawings. She started working with paper in 2012 when learning the Japanese art of Ise-katagami—a traditional stencil technique used for complex designs on Kimono fabric. Abe uses the same Japanese Ise-katagami cutting tools but on black paper, in addition to an X-Acto knife, a cutting mat, and—most importantly—incredible patience. The resulting hand-cut creations depict woodland spirit animals and mystical forests that explore “everyday moments and thoughts.”

Abe’s growing portfolio of animal cut-outs includes a reassuring moth that reminds you to “have faith in yourself, and you will see the light,” and a supernatural fox with “a connection to a magical realm.” Abe documents each piece on Instagram, sometimes showing how her artwork casts a beautiful shadow when held against a light surface. Depending on the design’s intricacy, Abe’s smaller pieces can take up to 15 hours to complete. “I find curvy lines take more time than geometric patterns with straight lines,” she explains.

If you’re in San Francisco, you can visit Abe’s first solo show—Meet Me in the Woods—at Little Lodge gallery. It’s open until December 2, 2017, on Saturday and Sundays from 12-6pm. Keep up to date on Abe’s work on Instagram, where she also shares her works in progress.

Paper artist Kanako Abe creates incredibly detailed hand-cut artworks that depict spirit animals and mystical woodlands.

Delicate Paper-Cut Illustrations by Kanako AbeDelicate Paper-Cut Illustrations by Kanako AbeDelicate Paper-Cut Illustrations by Kanako AbeDelicate Paper-Cut Illustrations by Kanako AbeDelicate Paper-Cut Illustrations by Kanako AbeDelicate Paper-Cut Illustrations by Kanako Abe

Each piece is so detailed, that at first glance they look like pen drawings.

Delicate Paper-Cut Illustrations by Kanako AbeDelicate Paper-Cut Illustrations by Kanako AbeDelicate Paper-Cut Illustrations by Kanako AbeDelicate Paper-Cut Illustrations by Kanako AbeDelicate Paper-Cut Illustrations by Kanako AbeDelicate Paper-Cut Illustrations by Kanako AbeDelicate Paper-Cut Illustrations by Kanako AbeDelicate Paper-Cut Illustrations by Kanako AbeKanako Abe: Website | Facebook | Instagram
h/t: [Brown Paper Bag]

All images via Kanako Abe.

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Emma Taggart

Emma Taggart is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met. Originally from Northern Ireland, she is an artist now based in Berlin. After graduating with a BA in Fashion and Textile Design in 2013, Emma decided to combine her love of art with her passion for writing. Emma has contributed to various art and culture publications, with an aim to promote and share the work of inspiring modern creatives. While she writes every day, she’s also devoted to her own creative outlet—Emma hand-draws illustrations and is currently learning 2D animation.

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