Japanese Artist Creates Large, Lifelike Animal Sculptures Using Only Old Newspapers and Glue

The works are made completely by hand and take up to three months to create.

— -- Japanese artist Chie Hitotsuyama creates stunning lifelike sculptures of wild animals using only old newspapers and glue.

A few of her larger sculptures -- a rhinoceros, gorilla and sea turtle among them -- are now on display at the Lancaster Museum of Art and History near Los Angeles.

For her creations, Hitotsuyama cuts old newspapers into paper strings that she then tightly rolls up and glues together.

"I can carefully form contours and curves with each single string," she told ABC News. "These single strings, collected together, consequently become the surface of an object. And eventually, a shape or a form of an object appears."

The artist added that she makes the sculptures completely by hand and that it takes more than two to three months to complete one animal.

Though she has used all kinds of paper in her art, Hitotsuyama said she chose "old, thrown-out newspapers" as a medium for the animal sculptures because they are "easily obtained" and represent "an accumulation of the history and stories of human behavior."

"Newspapers come out every day and at the same time are thrown out everyday," she said. "This cycle repeats rebirth and death whilst carrying our memories. This, I felt, is so similar to humans who also repeat their own histories and experience the cycles of life and death."

Hitotsuyama said her art is influenced by personal memories, and that one in particular spurred her to begin creating her life-size animal sculptures.

At a national park in Zambia, Africa, she came across a wild rhinoceros that had been "brutally injured due to an ego of a human," the artist said. "A park ranger who was guiding me had told me that [rhinoceroses] have been killed by poachers who want their horns."

The incident "stuck with me," she added, saying that it made her decide to work to "share this reality with other people."

She said childhood memories of spending time at her grandfather's paper mill in the small town of Fuji, Japan, also made an impression on her.

She recalled loving "the hardworking employees in the mill, the smell of the papers, the sound of the twining machines running." She added that she "particularly enjoyed being buried under a mountain of paper clusters" and seeing the workers "make small, crafty thinks out of the leftover paper twine" during their breaks.

Though the daily grind of the paper mill was "probably unimportant and irrelevant to those who worked there," it "captivated my memories," Hitotsuyama said. "I had not known then that I would one day, years later, be creating sculptures with something related to these memories."