Month: January 2014

Rob Ryan

Rob Ryan is a fine artist from Cyprus. Now based in London, his art work consists of many different mediums including ceramics, textiles, jewellery and most famously his intricate paper cuts. Rob Ryan’s paper cuts often consist of nature based landscapes companied by sentimental, grave, honest and sometimes humorous pieces of writing which he has had admitted are autobiographical.

His piece ‘You can still do a lot with a small brain’ (2009) consisted of 11 window decals measuring 4.5 x 1.9 meters which were displayed at Yorkshire Sculpture Park.  Sarah Coulson and Adrianne Neil interviewed Ryan about this particular piece of work. “This piece is something quite new and different for me. It is my first window decal piece and the first piece of work I have made covering such a large area … the exciting thing about the large scale of this space is that these objects can be shown more or less actual size, the same size that we relate to them on an everyday basis’’ (Rob Ryan – ‘You Can Still Do A Lot With A Small Brain’ page30) Unlike most of Rob Ryan’s paper cuts, this piece was much larger and consisted of everyday objects such as ironing boards and lamps compared to his usual romantic landscape pieces. “All of the objects that fill up this space piled high and precariously, similarly fill our everyday lives. Though they are mundane when seen in isolation like this and out of their domestic context, they serve us faithfully and represent our days, our lives.” (Rob Ryan ‘’ page 30) Rob Ryan created this piece using themes differing from his usual work because of the environment it was to be displayed in, because of the positioning of the windows it is impossible to view all 11 window decals at once and so the viewer is forced to view each one slowly as the message is revealed as walking past each window, Ryan wanted to create something that made the viewer feel that the pieces were ‘’related more specifically to them’’ (Rob Ryan ‘’ page 31) by walking past and seeing life size objects it makes the viewer feel more connected to the piece, all the objects are part of our ordinary domestic lives, while in a rural setting.



My Neighbor Totoro – Studio Ghibli

My Neighbor Totoro (となりのトトロ Tonari no Totoro) is a Japanese animated film, written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki and produced by Studio Ghibli in 1988. This fantasy film is about two daughters Satsuko and Mei and their interactions with friendly wood spirits in post-war rural Japan.

Studio Ghibli is a Japanese animation studio based in Koganei, Tokyo, Japan. The company’s logo features the character Totoro (a large forest spirit) from Miyazaki’s film My Neighbor Totoro, because of the success of that particular film.

What the film does best is capture the characters of the two sisters, because of how convincing their portrayal of the two young girls is, it makes the film so much more relatable for the viewers and while the film has its surreal, slightly scary parts, you can’t help but fall in love with these two characters. In particular I find the portrayal of the youngest sister Mei to be incredibly strong as their portrayal of the brave, inquisitive four year old girl makes the viewer’s laugh and relate to Mei especially for viewers with younger sisters or daughters.  While aspects of the film are unknown, such as the character Totoro and the Cat Bus, the viewer can’t help but like these surreal, slightly scary characters, because of their animal like characteristics and image. The illustrations of these characters have been based upon animals to make them more likeable by the audience; the aim of these characters is not to scare the viewers but to make the audience like them just like Satsuko and Mei do. This shows the audience how the two girls are supposed to feel about these characters, through their likeability and animal image the audience are supposed to mirror the sister’s feelings towards these characters.

The film has received various positive reviews. Film critic, Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times rated My Neighbor Totoro as one of his “Great Movies” calling it “one of the lovingly hand-crafted works of Hayao Miyazaki”. In his review, Ebert declared “My Neighbor Totoro is based on experience, situation and exploration—not on conflict and threat,” and described its appeal:         “it would never have won its worldwide audience just because of its warm heart. It is also rich with human comedy in the way it observes the two remarkably convincing, lifelike little girls… It is a little sad, a little scary, a little surprising and a little informative, just like life itself. It depends on a situation instead of a plot, and suggests that the wonder of life and the resources of imagination supply all the adventure you need.” Ebert explains that the reason the film is so successful is because of how convincing and realistic the portrayal of Satsuko and Mei is. I completely agree, while My Neighbor Totoro has various funny and sad moments that make it a fantastic successful film for all ages, it is the characters of the two girls that make the film so relatable for the audience which is the real reason that the film is so successful and loved worldwide.

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Peter Callesen

Peter Callesen is a Danish artist and author. He works mainly with just A4 sheets of white paper. “It is probably the most common and consumed media used for carrying information today. This is why we rarely notice the actual materiality of the A4 paper.”  (Peter Callesen –  Callesen works primarily with white paper, he says it adds “tragic and romantic” theme to his work, in the sense that his figures, while stood up away from the flat piece of paper they are still attached to the paper and therefore cannot ‘escape’, his use of paper creates incredibly fragile sculptures showing the “frailty that underlines the tragic and romantic theme of my (Callesen’s) works.”

While white paper appears to be one of the simplest mediums to work with, Callesen works with the idea of ‘complexity’ in his piece White Diary. The piece is of a human head with a complex though process, fairy tales and imaginative landscapes coming from a sketchbook in the centre of the head. The piece is supposed to show ‘’confusion and a feeling of getting lost in the detail’’ Callesen does present these feelings through the various small complex illustrations used in White Diary, the piece appears to be incredibly fragile, when looked at from a distance it appears to be filled with various shapes but when looked at in detail smaller illustrations of city landscapes, spiders and other illustrations appear to make up the mass of ‘ideas’ coming from the sketchbook. This puts emphasis on the details as the viewer has to pay attention to each detail in the piece to view each individual illustration, and presents the confusion of some many ideas as each illustration differs from the last.

For many of Callesen’s A4 paper cut pieces, he decided to frame them. All these pieces appear on white paper with a coloured piece as the background of an oak frame. The presentation of these pieces shows the simplicity of the medium Callesen uses. The simple block colours and plain frame puts all of the focus on his delicate sculptures and paper cut illustrations. Callesen presents his work in a very effective way, because many of his illustrations take up a small corner of the paper when viewed people feel the need to go up close and view each piece to really appreciate how incredible they are, while the simplistic frames and background don’t take any of the focus away from each illustration.

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Yusuke Oono

Japanese artist and architect, Yusuke Oono brings a whole new dimension to paper craft art. Through the use of bookbinding and paper cut illustration, Yusuke Oono creates a 3d piece of art that tells well know stories in a different way. Oono’s work appeals to people of all ages. While both adults and children can appreciate the intricate paper cut illustrations and the beauty and complexity of his work, Oono’s work especially appeals to children, the illustrations of well-known stories such as Snow White and The Jungle Book presented in a 3d form, influences feelings of the story world ‘coming alive’ making the viewer feel more involved in the story as the 3d form makes the story more interactive.

Yusuke Oono uses 3d CAD and laser cutting to create these intricate illustrations out of paper. “I design my products, by 3d CAD which is used for architecture design. This time, I tried to find something new system to express dimensions in real life. The landscape such as ground and tree in 360 degree book is made as 3d object (like a cray model) in computer and I sliced them by rotating plane. Finally, each sections are used as pages of the book. With this system, everyone who opens the book can enjoy it and is surprised by the dramatic transformation” (Yusuke Oono 2012 – )    Oono uses this method to be able to create a piece of work that transforms into its 3d form, ”surprised by the dramatic transformation” Oono’s work does surprise the viewer like he sets out to do, the 3d form leaves the viewer interested in the illustrations and keeps everyone’s attention.

Oono’s use of colour also aids in making the story come alive for the viewer. Multiple pieces of Oono’s work are done with just the use of white card this makes his work look simple and clean. The use of white card is especially effective for his Snow White and Christmas Version books as the colour adds to the atmosphere of the book, resembling the snow in Christmas Version. His use of orange-yellow card in In A Cheese makes it easier for the viewer to visualise the mice being inside a block of cheese. While some of his pieces are done with the use of one colour, Oono occasionally uses multiple pieces, I don’t feel that multiple colours is as effective as it makes the illustrations look far more complex than they are. While his illustrations are intricate, they work better as a piece when kept looking as simple as possible because of the numerous layers creating a 3d scene. The use of multiple colours makes the layers look separate which takes away from the bold 3d form.

Yusuke Oono’s work creates an engaging piece for the viewers. “Yusuke Oono adds depth to an especially two dimensional medium: paper.” (Danny Olda, 2014 –  Oono’s work has been recognised by various other artists for creating something entirely new and for referring to the viewer’s imagination. “Oono’s book-like pieces appear to reference the ways stories leave the page and take form in our imagination.” (Danny Olda 2014 – ‘’ ) Oono’s use of illustrations associated with childhood, such as animal characters and fairy tales creates a feeling of the world coming alive. Emphasising the importance of childlike imagination.

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