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Poetic Illustrations Are Delicately Cut From a Single Sheet of Paper

Paper Cutting Art by Kanako Abe

At first glance, the illustrative artwork of Japan-born, San Francisco-based artist Kanako Abe looks like it was rendered with a black fine liner, but each intricate piece is actually cut from paper. Abe has been practicing the delicate art of paper cutting (Kiri-e in Japanese) since 2012, and it’s clear to see she’s now perfected her craft.

From floral motifs to figurative paper illustrations, Abe’s thoughtful work illustrates the beauty found in fragility. Each piece is impressively hand-cut from a single sheet of black paper using an X-Acto knife, resulting in incredibly delicate silhouettes. Abe often holds up each finished piece when photographing it, revealing just how intricate the paper lines really are. While most people wouldn’t have the patience to cut these thin lines and complex shapes by hand, for Abe, creating Kiri-e art is a way of “meditating on everyday thoughts, emotions and interconnectivity of the nature and universe.”

Check out some of Abe’s pretty paper-cut art below and find more from her portfolio on Instagram.

San Francisco-based artist Kanako Abe hand-cuts these incredibly incricate paper illustrations.

Paper Cutting Art by Kanako Abe

Each delicate piece takes several hours to complete.

Paper Cutting Art by Kanako Abe

Paper Cutting Art by Kanako Abe

The paper lines are so thin, they look like they've been rendered in pen.

Paper Cutting Art by Kanako AbePaper Cutting Art by Kanako AbePaper Cutting Art by Kanako AbePaper Cutting Art by Kanako AbePaper Cutting Art by Kanako AbePaper Cutting Art by Kanako AbePaper Cutting Art by Kanako AbePaper Cutting Art by Kanako AbeKanako Abe: Website | Instagram

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by 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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