JR CHUO is a contemporary paper cut and spray paint artist based in the UK. CHUO cuts all of his designs by hand, creating intricate paper artworks. Although CHUO is only 18 years old, he has been paper cutting for over six years, during which time he has continually perfected his practice. Despite the precise nature of CHUO’s work, his designs are often expressive, containing a myriad of fascinating leading lines and shapes that capture the viewer’s attention. Paper is often viewed as a simple base material, but CHUO’s work highlights the medium’s complex inner structure and unique beauty. Each individual paper-cut shape is different and thousands of these shapes work together in harmony to form large seamless designs.
One of the central ideas behind CHUO’s work is the notion of façades in society that conceal harsh realities. CHUO takes inspiration from the organised nature of urban subway maps and the simplification of metropolitan areas, which conceal the complexity of the areas they represent. He believes this concept is also present in the way our societies and governments deal with the environment. CHUO explores the impacts of climate change on coral reefs, juxtaposing this message with the vibrant colours that he uses in his work. In addition, many of CHUO’s artworks are named after Japanese subway stations and lines.
CHUO’s artistic process is labour-intensive, requiring deep focus on the present moment. Cutting all of his designs by hand, one small paper cut piece usually takes several weeks to complete. However, CHUO uses his paper cut pieces to create a wide range of artworks, from spray paintings to digital versions of his designs. Thus, each individual paper cut piece generates a wide array of possibilities for CHUO to experiment with.
With a diameter of almost 2 meters, CHUO’s largest paper cut piece, ‘Shinjuku’, took around 2 years to complete and captures his ever-evolving paper cutting technique over this time period. This piece was selected by Saatchi Art as one of their ‘Curator’s Picks’ for The Other Art Fair London in July 2021, where CHUO recently exhibited some of his latest work. The patterns found in CHUO’s pieces are largely inspired by organic forms found in coral reefs and his bright colour palette takes inspiration from the striking colours emitted by certain corals before they are bleached by warming ocean temperatures as a result of climate change. CHUO aims to capture the ‘tragic beauty’ of dying corals in his work, by creating striking designs, often using fluorescent colours to draw attention to the intricacy of the artworks. However, CHUO hopes that people feel optimistic when looking at his vibrant work and that his pieces encourage an appreciation for the beauty of corals and the versatility of paper.www.jrchuo.com