Hitotsuyama, born in Fuji, Shizuoka, Japan, started her career as an illustrator. When she began to create three-dimensional works, childhood memories of her family’s historic paper string factory led her to use paper as her sculptural medium, creating remarkable life-size animals and marine life from unwanted newspaper.
She says, “My grandfather owned and operated a paper mill. So, it was quite natural that I came to work with paper as my material of choice. For my work, I primarily use old discarded newspapers – ones that have become unwanted and no longer have a purpose to the original owner. I then make paper strings out of the old newspapers, just as the old wooden thawing machines did in my grandfather’s factory, but instead, this time I use my hands.”
“Since the first sculptural piece I made, a rhinoceros, I have continued to sculpt forms of animals and while doing so I have become acutely aware of the life force in all beings. I admire the animals I study. I am in awe of their strength and survival in unforgiving nature.”.