For some people, fallen leaves are something annoying that needs to be raked and put away; for others, they color the streets and signal the arrival of crisp weather. However, few see the creative possibilities of fall foliage the way Hirotaka Hamasaki does. Over the last decade, this Japanese art teacher has swept the fallen leaves and petals on his school playground to create ephemeral depictions of popular characters, such as Pikachu, Kirby, and Winnie the Pooh.
Hamasaki started this land art project while looking for simple ways to get students into developing a love for art. The vibrant hues of the foliage lend themselves beautifully to the signature color palette of each character, from the yellow and brown exterior of My Neighbor Totoro‘s Catbus to Anpanman's bright red cheeks.
Although Hamasaki's creations were looked over at first by his students, they now look forward to them, and even make character requests to the educator, who happily obliges. The janitors at the school not only love the look of each piece, but they also appreciate the teacher’s help in raking all the leaves for them.
The fallen leaves and flower petals arrangements are not the only endeavor Hamasaki has taken on to inspire his students. He also recreates famous works of art and recreates popular characters on his big blackboard, showing an amazing attention to detail.
Scroll down to see more of Hamasaki‘s artistic land art over the years. You can also follow all of his future educational and artistic pursuits on Instagram.