SAPPORO – Suguru Yoshida, an art major at a university in northern Japan, has elevated the ordinary practice of making cardboard animals to the realm of realism, with such creations as a tiger that seems to be moving and a fluffy sheep.
Yoshida, 29, says he chose cardboard due to his involvement in producing playground tools and toys for children using commonly available materials. He was drawn to pasteboard as it is more resilient than regular paper and more lightweight than wood.
A few of his works were put on display in a section of an underground pedestrian passage in central Sapporo in late October.
“I hope many people will experience a feeling of surprise and playfulness in art by not just looking but also touching these items,” he said of his presentations — a sheep and a giant tortoise.
“Can you make this out of cardboard?” a passerby asked.
“I thought it was made of wood,” said another.
Yoshida was admitted to Sapporo City University’s school of design in the spring of 2013, hoping to seek a career in illustration or design, after a stint with the Ground Self-Defense Force, which he joined on graduation from another university in the prefecture in 2009.
One of his principal works is a life-size tiger that emerges halfway out of a folding screen. To express unique dynamics and texture, the layered cardboard is scraped with a machine file and its surface meticulously incised with scissors to create the semblance of body hair.
An animal of this kind requires around 40 cardboard boxes and fourth months of work, he said.
In March 2015, Yoshida was given an award for excellence for a cardboard salmon in a competition for Hokkaido artists, featured in an exhibit at Sapporo’s JR Tower.
Yoshida is currently working on a piece for his graduation next spring, with cardboard being his material of choice.
“After I’ve collected too many boxes,” he said. “I just produce works just to reduce the stockpile.”