Japanese Art: Potter and Paper Cutting


By Joe Meny

Junko Yamada creates unique works of art on rice paper by applying modern subject mat- ter and lively colors to a traditional Japanese art form. This creates collages that are each composed of thousands of pieces of rice paper in the tradition of harie, a style of Japanese art. Since the Nara period (710 – 784 AD) in Japanese history, artists in Japan have been using unique, strong papers for centuries and have created some of the most unique and time-consuming works of art. The Japanese value paper in their art and use it in their daily lives, as evidenced by their furniture and inte- rior design. This art form is self-taught, and uses some unconventional artist’s instruments, including tweezers, safety pins, tracing paper, scissors, rollers, two-sided tape, an X-acto knife and Yamato glue.

Junko was born in the northern part of Kyoto, and was raised there until she turned 18. After several years in Kyoto, Junko went to visit a good friend in Boston. What was supposed to be a couple of months turned into two-and-a -half years in Boston. After attending the Art Institute of Boston, Junko moved back to Japan for three years. While in Japan, she applied for her green card and returned to the U.S. in 1991, living in Washington, D.C. She remained in the nation’s capital for nine years, until finally moving to New York in the Summer of 2000.

Ms. Yamada gets her inspiration from beauti- ful papers and landscapes, which is evident in her work. Some of her favorite pieces are those depicting the beautiful landscapes from her native country of Japan. For more information about Ms. Yamada and her work, please visit: www.junkoyamada.com.