design

From New York to Tokyo, Osaka-born artist recreates cities entirely out of paper

Updated 21st December 2017
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From New York to Tokyo, Osaka-born artist recreates cities entirely out of paper
Written by Zahra Jamshed, CNN
Inco Matsui uses paper in imaginative ways. Since 2006, the Osaka-born Japanese artist has worked with paper as a medium to recreate world famous cities, in the miniature. Her version of Tokyo, is just a few inches tall.
Cutting meticulously away, she spends weeks and sometimes months assembling little shops, restaurants, and skyscrapers.
Tokyo recreated from paper
Tokyo recreated from paper Credit: Picasa/courtesy inco matsui
Matsui said she chooses to work with paper and glue because it's easily accessible and, at the time when she began her practice, few were using it.
"There were so many different and great miniature artists at the time, so I decided to choose something different. Paper provides a gentle and warm atmosphere to work with," Matsui explained in an email.
Prior to building the works, she spends months at a time, researching the visuals of each city to accurately depict them. Her Tokyo project took half a year to complete.

An emotional journey

Matsui created Tokyo based on memories from her youth, growing up in the city during the 1980s.
"I chose a nostalgic approach in order to share the experience with those who have not visited Tokyo in the past. This way, I'm able to share the good memories of someone who knows the city."
While Matsui is most known for recreating Tokyo, her favorite is her hometown Osaka, the first paper city she created.
"I really missed my family, so it allowed me to feel closer to them," she explained.
Now that she lives in New York, she creates mini worlds from her adopted city, including Coney Island. Her paper metropolises have appeared in exhibitions around the world.
Moving beyond cities, Matsui has incorporated dreamier themes into her work. Scroll through the gallery above to see highlights from Matsui's body of work.