How might you use paper and glue to create the walls of flowers, the waves of butterflies, or the whoosh of crows seen in teamLab: Continuity? Let’s connect the high-tech art of teamLab to traditional Japanese chigiri-e — collages made of torn colored paper.
In traditional chigiri-e, a practice that dates back to the Heian period (794–1195), artists use handmade washi paper to create painting-like pictures. For the activity below, we’ll use construction and tissue paper, but you can use whatever paper you have around your home (newspaper, magazine pages, paper bags, mailers, etc.). As long as you can tear it, you can use it!
Get Acquainted with an Artist
Kiyoshi Yamashita (1922–1971) created intricate chigiri-e inspired by his travels through Japan and Europe. Bullied from a young age for his speech impediment and institutionalized for his developmental disability, Yamashita ran away from home at the age of 18 and became known for his “Wandering Diary,” in which he recorded his experiences on the road. He used his photographic memory to capture vivid, vibrant images from his roaming and eventually became celebrated as the “Van Gogh of Japan.” Click on the “Close-Up” buttons on this webpage by the Yamaguchi Prefectual Art Museum to see amazing details from Yamashita’s chigiri-e. Can you see the little pieces of paper Yamashita used? What is similar and what is different when you compare his artwork to the images created by teamLab?
Click through the gallery to see an image of Yamashita.
Tissue paper of many colors
Glue or gluestick
Download the teacher packet from sidebar above for complete instructions.
1. For inspiration, watch the video on the Asian Art Museum’s teamLab: Continuity webpage. More videos are available on the teamLab website.
2. On a piece of construction paper, draw outlines for the images you want to create.
3. Choose the tissue paper colors you want to use. Then think: What are all the ways you can use your hands to transform the tissue paper into the shapes you need?
- Poke holes
- Press / smooth out
Did you think of more? Using the methods above, create the pieces of tissue paper needed to fill in your outlines on the construction paper.
4. Moving from “back to front,” layer the tissue paper to create interesting colors and textures. Then glue your pieces of tissue paper onto your construction paper.
5. Continue layering shapes and textures until your chigiri-e is complete.