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Sunday, September 19, 2021

Thinking out of the box: Japanese artist makes life-like cardboard sculptures

Over the past decade, the Japanese artist has used the unlikely medium of cardboard to create artwork inspired by popular culture, from anime robots to models of tanks and fighter jets, a life-sized gun to a full McDonald's meal

By: Reuters | Tokyo |
August 31, 2021 12:00:01 pm
Monami Ohno, japanese sculpture Monami Ohno, Monami Ohno sculpturesCardboard sculptures by artist Monami Ohno are seen displayed at a gallery in Tokyo, Japan. (Monami Ohno/Handout via REUTERS)

Using a long pair of tweezers, Monami Ohno delicately places tiny cardboard “scales” on the legs of her sculpture of Godzilla, the giant reptile from the classic Japanese movie.

Over the past decade, the Japanese artist has used the unlikely medium of cardboard to create artwork inspired by popular culture, from anime robots to models of tanks and fighter jets, a life-sized gun to a full McDonald’s meal.

It all started when the 29-year-old made a “bike-like thing” out of cardboard for a college assignment ten years ago.

“When I first tried folding the paper, gluing and putting them together, the people around me praised me, saying things like ‘Wow, you can make this,’,” she said. “That made me so happy that I have continued doing this until now.”

Monami Ohno, japanese sculpture Monami Ohno, Monami Ohno sculptures A cardboard sculpture of a giant robot sits on a shelf next to the desk of 29-year-old artist Monami Ohno in her room in Tokyo, Japan. (REUTERS/Joseph Campbell)

Ohno’s intricate sculptures have since gained popularity, with her work exhibited in galleries in Japan and overseas.

Rather than relying on a precise blueprint, Ohno simply draws a rough sketch on the cardboard to get an idea of the measurements before cutting out the design and moulding it, using glue and sometimes a little water.

“I make the things I would really like to decorate my house with,” she said in her studio filled with her creations, including a child-sized Lego Batman sculpture.

Ohno’s commissioned pieces have sold for 100,000 yen ($909.42) to 1,500,000 Japanese yen, according to her press officer.

Monami Ohno, japanese sculpture Monami Ohno, Monami Ohno sculptures A cardboard sculpture of Godzilla is seen on the desk of 29-year-old artist Monami Ohno in Tokyo, Japan. (REUTERS/Joseph Campbell)

Although her art is entirely made from used cardboard boxes, Ohno said her work has no underlying environmental message.

“Eventually if it makes that point, it would be nice if people can see my work, which is made out of cardboard and recycled materials rather than plastics, and realise that there are these kinds of people who are involved in recycling,” she said.

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