San Francisco-based paper artist Kanako Abe creates elaborate, stylized portraits of animals and children using Ise-katagami, the traditional Japanese paper stencil technique for patterning kimono fabric. Abe learned Ise-katagami in 2012 and her creative interpretation treats paper as the finished product rather than simply a material in the process of image-making. The artist’s silhouettes of youth are also reminiscent of the Western tradition of creating silhouette portraits of a child’s profile. Abe fills these youthful outlines with plant tendrils, blossoming flowers, and moonlit forest scenes.
As seen in the photos below, many of Abe’s works are small, not much larger than the artist’s hand. However, she does occasionally venture into larger territory, as with her life-size wolf and bear paper cuts. Abe most recently exhibited her work in a solo show at the Little Lodge in San Francisco. You can find more of the artist’s work on Instagram.
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