The stunning elegance of Jeff Nishinaka’s paper art calls for a new definition of paper. His meticulous sculptural 3D work appears to have been created from marble or extremely fine sand or vanilla ice cream or thick foam — definitely of something other than ‘just’ paper. The Los Angeles-born artist works mainly with white, which makes the exquisite play of light and shadow a large part of the appeal of his work.
One might assume that there is very little demand for work that uses one medium and one colour. Not so. Nishinaka’s work pops up everywhere in the most unexpected places, from medical illustrations of the structure of the eye, to private portrait commissions, to a life-size garden for a hotel.
He has a prolific career working in advertising, fashion and fine art, and also creating some larger installations. His commercial work includes commissions for fashion catalogues for Bloomingdales and Galeries Lafayette, advertising work for Visa, Coca Cola, Playboy, American Airlines, Toyota and Mattel. Even the colourful characters of Disney’s Lion King — Pumbaa, Timon, Rafiki et.al. — look absolutely stunning in Nishinaka’s white paper world (image below). If you want to see a lot of Nishinaka’s work in one place, you need to talk to his personal friend, actor Jackie Chan, the owner of the largest Nishinaka collection. – Tuija Seipell