Creating Otherworldly Art with… Paper and a Knife

Hiromi Mizugai Moneyhun’s paper cut exhibition, which will open at Morikami on June 10, is a testament to dormant, inherent talent.

Moneyhun, a native of Kyoto, Japan, who moved to Jacksonville, FL, about 12 years ago, learned the art of paper-cutting more than 20 years ago. The intricate, detailed artwork catches shadows on the wall like a spider web on steroids.

Each face, animal or floral design looks as if it were made from strings, threads or even finely drawn pencil strokes. But no… it’s simply paper, cut with painstaking precision by an Exacto® knife – a talent that Moneyhun taught herself and then laid to rest for about 15 years.

I was at home all day with her, and that’s when I started paper cutting because I had a lot of time.

She pursued other forms of artistic expression, until she was inspired by time and her young daughter’s face.

“About 20 years ago, I did paper cut, but it was much simpler, not intricate like now. I forgot about it and did other things. I did a bit of tattooing in Japan for about two years,” she recalled. “For the last 12 years, I’ve been a busy mom and wife, and then husband’s mom had a stroke, and I took care of her. I was at home all day with her, and that’s when I started paper cutting because I had a lot of time.”

Moneyhun was drawing at the time, and saw that her drawings were perfect stencils for paper cutting. She picked up her Exacto knife and began creating again. She started with her daughter as a model, and continued cutting figures she saw as beautiful.

Her largest paper cut is 3’ x 9’ and took between three to four months to make. Her smallest paper cuts are the size of a human hand and typically can be done in less than a day. For her exhibition at The Morikami, Moneyhun is creating new pieces, designed to fit in the museum galleries.

“Right now, I’m making something for Morikami. It’s an extension of the series I already created. The theme is Japanese oiran, a kind of upper-class geisha. She looks like geisha, but she is not geisha; she is something more,” Moneyhun said.


mothTo view the exclusive additions to the “Shadows of the Floating Worlds: Paper Cuts by Hiromi Moneyhun,” plan to visit Morikami from to June 10–September 16; Member Preview is June. 9.


Organized by the Morikami Museum & Japanese Gardens. Funded in part by the Henry and Tomoye Takahashi Charitable Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. Learn more here.

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