~ like ~ Yuken Teruya

yuken teruya is an artist based in new york. he loves manipulating everyday objects which are then later exploited through traditional craft techniques ; creating detailed and intricate artworks.

i might even categorized his works into sustainability as the fact that his works always explore issues of the growing consumerism in the society today - placing his concerns and responses with current threat in globalism. 

i came across to his works while doing research for my assignments many years back. yup, uni again (>ε<)

yuken teruya has several sculpture series (using different medias) throughout his projects.  they are all very remarkable.

nevertheless the following series which i would love to share include his utilization of paper bags, toilet rolls and books - cutting tiny detailed trees out from these materials with his delicate hand.

                    notice - forest series 

in this series, yuken teruya create his small enchanting world inside disposable paper bags. elaborate shapes of tree branches were cut and created without adding anything at all. he just folded and then placed each cut-out parts in the bags.

Notice – Forest exhibition shot, 7 paper bags from different business fields
Glue and bags, dimensions vary, 2005

in each bag, portrait of a tree was assembled inside.

mcdonald's paper bags

Notice- Forest (McDonald’s paper bag), Paper Bag, Glue, 2005

 "When I studied at art-school, I became enchanted with the ornamental interiors of paper bags and began cutting out shapes with tiny scissors, basing the cuts on photographs of actual trees. The inside of the bag is a perfect place to resurrect the original qualities and spirit of an authentic tree. In here, the tree appears to be situated in the middle of a vivid forest with the light coming in through the hole on the top of the bag, imitating sunlight and shadow. These technical aspects come together in an automated way and give the piece a harmonious rhythm. Starting out, I utilised brown bags, but then I noticed McDonalds, Starbucks and subsequently Christie’s auction house bags. I first thought that the colours of the bag would distract, but then I recognised that they reflect the changing seasons flawlessly. It is captivating to work with commercial bags because you sense their origins, which have then been superseded by perishable sculptural trees. Amalgamating such ideals in the form of minute trees causes confusion and is telling, because it mirrors that people are not just diametrically opposed, they also peacefully coexist." yuken teruya

Golden Arch Parkway McDonald's, paper, glue, 2005
left : blue tree ; right : brown

Golden Arch Parkway McDonald's, paper, glue, 2005
left : yellow ; right : japanese

designer's store bags

paper, glue, 2005, left" LVMH - Le Bon Marche ; right: LVMH - Louis Vuitton

paper, glue, 2005, left: LVMH - Christian Dior ; right: LVMH - Berluti
              rain forest / corner forest series

For his rain forest and corner forest projects, yuken teruya transformed toilet paper rolls into another beautiful artworks. he carefully cut tree branches; creating remarkable positive and negative images.

rain forest series, toilet paper rolls, 2007

" I appreciate the relationship between form and function and the continuation of different functionalities. When I started Rain Forest, I was intrigued with Aristotle and his philosophy of nature. One particular sentence became embedded in my mind. Relating to the potentiality of nature Aristotle describes how an acorn already has within it the potential to be an oak tree. Similarly a full-grown oak tree is proof of the potentiality of the acorn. Whenever I see a paper product, I remember these words and in my vision and work the props follow the destination of nature because I bring the tree back, thereby expanding on Aristotle’s notion. In the procedure of creating Rain Forest, the round form of the toilet roll resembles a tree trunk and then I start adding to it. Eventually I cut out a woodpecker. It is still a simple paper roll but folded out with a little bird it becomes a tree. It is like making magic. " yuken teruya

corner forest series, toilet paper rolls, 2007

corner forest series, toilet paper rolls, 2006

how magnificent is the cut-out tree silhouettes that support themselves by just using their own weight. these amazing craftsmanship - giving a new life to the lifeless.

looking as fragile as it might be; instead - it shows us the existence and remind us the strength of a tree.

think this post is going way too long (´-`) so i'll be posting another project by yuken teruya which i like very much ♡ 

hope you like them too (((o(*゚▽゚*)o))

(images courtesy from yuken teruya studio & saatchi gallery)
(interview quotes from Asian Art Newspaper)


  1. This is just UNBELIEVABLE! :O

    I didn't know anything about this artist, but I think I'm in love with his work now!

    Thank you so much for this post! xx

    1. welcome! i'm glad you like it too♪