Nahoko Kojima is a professional contemporary Japanese paper cut artist, born 1981 in Japan. She started Kirie (Japanese Papercutting) under private tutelage at the age of 5 and continued throughout her formative years. Using techniques that are unique to her, she transforms washi paper (a type of artisanal Japanese paper) into an impressive polar bear that’s three metres tall, or a 32-metre-long whale.
“When I was a child I would lie down on my back on the grass and draw the underside of flowers. I think when we discover a hidden beauty, we leave our bodies and look on ourselves, the object and environment, all as one lovely epiphany.”
In 1999 she moved to Tokyo and in 2004 she graduated from a degree in Design at Kuwasawa Institute. She briefly pursued a career in Graphic Design in Tokyo before moving to London in 2005 to learn more of the Western culture of the Arts.
By 2009 Nahoko Kojima was cutting professionally, filling the Exposure Gallery in Central London with over 100 paper cuts. In 2010, she opened her studio in London and started working on multiple works.
Nahoko Kojima is known to create one-off designs that are never duplicated and often based on the forces of nature.
“For me sculpture is not static, it’s not just about one moment in time. In my work I try to capture the processes of change and augmentation.”
Interestingly, despite the size of her work, it emulates a sense of fragility. The element of paper, with its thin and delicate demeanor, is not lost on audiences, even those standing next to her life-size depiction of a whale. Her inspiration pulls from animals, plants, and nature, and she doesn’t limit herself to the positive but also experiments with the negative.
Kojima Nahoko’s Shiro Paper Cut Sculpture
She has been residing in the UK since 2006 and being a lover of design she co-founded Solo Kojima with the intention of making a place where her paper art and design were unified and applied to real world problems. The studio is involved in all design and production of shows and art installations.