Ryo Arai

b.1958; Tokyo, Japan

Graduate of Art from Bunka Gakuin and Sculpture at Musashino Art School, Arai is a rare figurative artist in Japan. He opened his own studio "Kobo Monmo" in Kawagoe City, Saitama in 1989 and focused on making the traditional local craft "Kawagoe Hariko" consisting mostly of masks, figurines such as the maneki-neko (welcoming cat). With the introduction of his "Bakemonotsuzura" (Monster bag) series in 1996 his works began to include Japanese monster themes. His style of papier-mâché realism is well known as book cover designs for the popular writer Kyogoku Natsuhiko which he has been creating since 1998


技 Technique
Paper and Papier-mâché
The choice of material is highly important for those who make things, but there is no theory to explain their choices. I could describe it of putting wet papers onto a wooden model and taking the wood out when the papers are dry. But it is easily crushed and destroyed by a person's touch. This immaturity and weakness makes it one of the hardest forms of art work to remain in the world. However even with such material, if you have the fate to work with it you can accept the good and bad. The fact that papers do not get much attention as a prime choice of material for creation could be viewed that they hold great amount of possibilities, but as they are substances they will not talk or co-operate with the maker. To master the material does not mean controlling it with one's demand, instead one must actively approach it and have a deep understanding of the quality and weakness of the material for the reconstruction. Working with a partner that does not tell you anything makes for many hours of waste and mistakes. But if I start feeling as though this progress is painful and pointless, I must reconsider what "creation" means from the basics.

Source: Translated Excerpt from "Bakemono Tsuzura" Mokujisha Press


"Ryo Arai - The Hariko Works" at Gallery Hanakagesho / Netsu
"Ryo Arai - Works" at Kabutoya Gallery / Ginza, Tokyo
"MELTDOWN II" at Vanilla Gallery / Ginza, Tokyo
"Bakemono tsuzura" -Book Commemoration Exhibit at Gallery Kabutoya / Tokyo & Gallery Shimada / Kobe
"MELTDOWN"at Kabutoya Gallery / Ginza, Tokyo
"Bakemono tsuzura - yokai harikoya ten" (paper mache monsters exhibition) at Gallery Kabutoya / Ginza, Tokyo


"Jashin Shrine - Deep -" Span Art Gallery
"Jashin Shrine - Evil -" Vanilla Gallery
"Jashin Shrine" Gakken Publication commemorative exhibition
"Edo" / ICN gallery


Art Fair "Gyosho Gallery Circus" with Gallery Hanakagesho / Tokyo
"ART FAIR TOKYO" with Gallery Kogure / Tokyo