Jeff Nishinaka Stays Festive for CVS
We know that the holidays are already over and eyes are set forward on the new year that’s stretched out in front of us, but we had to show you this project. Jeff Nishinaka teamed up with CVS to help them ring in the holidays with their customers, creating a breathtaking amount of work for their holiday sales. You already know that Jeff can make just about anything out of cut paper, but did you know he could create an entire holiday season?
CVS’ campaign was pretty straightforward: there were a ton of deals for entertaining and gift-giving, but they wanted to add a new twist to the typical holiday fare. So they asked Jeff to create a series of holiday-themed environments entirely out of paper. And boy, did he.
Jeff made it all. There’s a snow-covered pine forest made from white paper. A blue mantle is covered in candles. A green kitchen countertop is complete with wall clock and a hot pot. A red living room window sets the base for picture frames and poinsettias. There’s even an entirely white landscape of snowy hills where a snowman makes an appearance. Plus all the details you can imagine: wrapped gifts, neighbors’ houses, twinkle lights and needles of pine.
It’s another year until the holidays arrive again, but it’s never too late to be festive. Especially in the face of such extraordinary work.
(Check out some of Jeff's work animated below! There's even a swooping dove!)
HBO's Game of Thrones Gets the B&A Royal Treatment
A well-told story outlives the words required to create it. It will ignite the imagination and tease the heart. It inspires and lives on long past its telling. A good story elicits a response. HBO’s Game of Thrones has arrested audiences the world over with its sweeping epic tale and characters that create homes deep in our psyches. To kick of this season, with the help of Bernstein & Andriulli they commissioned five artists to create artwork inspired by the series and tapped Tristan Eaton, Pop Chart Lab, and Jeff Nishinaka, CYRCLE and Marcos Chin for this original work. The collection of work was called "Art the Throne," and for good reason: each artist created a veritable royal masterpiece for all to enjoy.
“As I grew up I only wanted to paint characters in the streets,” says Tristan Eaton. “I’ve always had that affinity for nerd fantasy. I’m proud of it.” Tristan created a series of six paintings, each a play on the same image. A greyscale portrait of Daenerys Targaryen, the dragon queen, is replicated in each painting, with additions that reflect relationships and story points that have arisen along the way. Each painting has its own color themes, creating a final series of images that both reveal something about this crucial character and play with the eye. “Game of Thrones has some of the most amazing, strong female leads out of any show I’ve ever seen,” Tristan explains. “That really inspires.”
Pop Chart Lab were inspired by one of the series’ most gut wrenching scenes known as ‘The Red Wedding.’ In this horror show, a family of a spurned bride-to-be murders the family who didn’t hold up their end of the marriage bargain. Complicated rules of promise and honor factor into the event, resulting in the almost complete decimation of a bloodline. The families in Game of Thrones each have their own histories and lore, weaving into the rich fabric of the story. “Each family is so unique from the next,” says Becky Joy, a designer for Pop Chart Lab. “There’s a lot of symbolism throughout.” They wanted to remember the Starks with a huge 12-foot tall, engraved glass piece that memorialized the family while offering dread by lighting it up totally red. “I’d like people to walk away from this feeling like something bad happened here,” says Ashley Walker.
One of the biggest conflicts in the series is the ever-present danger from the North, the White Walkers (a type of ice zombie) are constantly threatening to invade the Seven Kingdoms, overrunning everyone and everything and covering the land in an icy death. When Jeff Nishinaka was looking for inspiration he turned to a scene where in the midst of battle the White Walkers raise our hero’s fallen allies from the dead turning them into White Walkers themselves. “It really does have a huge emotional impact,” says Jeff. “It’s kind of one of those ‘Oh my God!’ moments.” With the raising of his arms the leader of the White Walkers raises these zombies from the dead, and that’s the exact moment that Jeff wanted to immortalize in paper. Hundreds, if not thousands, pieces of cut paper come together to create the White Walker as he raises his hands above his head, bringing a kind of foul life to those who have fallen around him.
'Art the Throne' was on view in NYC’s Lower East Side at the Angel Orensanz Center for a limited time, but you can see the art of these B&A artists, as well as CYRCLE and Marcos Chin, here and teaser videos that we’ve included below.
Building the Brain Out of Paper with Jeff Nishinaka
The human brain is the most complex piece of equipment that humans have discovered so far. We know less about how the brain works than we know about the moon, but not for lack of effort. In fact, the brain is an area of intense study by neurologists all over the world and incredibly advances are made every year. One company that is a leader in cognitive technologies is Qualcomm with their brain implants that restore motor functions for those who have lost them. To help spread their message, Qualcomm teamed up with Jeff Nishinaka for the latest issue of Atlantic Monthly.
Jeff is best known for his mastery of paper craft; cutting and folding paper stock into intricate imagery that is compelling as it is awe-inspiring. For Jeff, a project can be as simple as replicating an image but he wanted to go deeper with this one, and to do that he had to really understand the technologies Qualcomm was working on. “I can make a sculpture of basically anything. I see an image and I copy it and that’s it, it’s a done deal. But this was a hard one because we were trying to get the concept just right,” says Jeff. “Instead of being as obvious as using a human brain, we used this scanned image of a brain where you see the paths that the neurons take inside the brain. So it’s like fibers.” By using the neural pathways of the brain for visual inspiration rather than the grey matter, the image becomes more about the action of the brain than the physical reality of it. It reminds us that the brain is an active and living part of us, and when shown in brilliant color is arrestingly beautiful.
Projects come in for Jeff from all over the world in a myriad of different industries, but this one was particularly special for Jeff because of what he had the opportunity to learn. The technology is complex, but Qualcomm worked with Jeff to make sure he understood as much as he was curious about. “I’m still a novice at this stuff and it’s still all very new to me and there’s so much about it that I don’t even know what I don’t know, but what I really enjoyed was that I learned something completely new,” says Jeff. Not only did he learn about these new technologies, like the chips that restore motor functions, Qualcomm has created a convert. Jeff explains: “If I were paralyzed from the neck down and this was the only way for me to have a proactive life, more power to it. I think it’s actually very cool.” It is very cool.
Jeff Nishinaka Finds Beauty in Surprise
When any artist is involved in a larger campaign, there’s an inherent collaboration. Of course, each artist receives a brief that explains what the company and campaign needs from the artist, but once the work is submitted, the campaign absorbs and adjusts the work as needed to fit the final objective. When Jeff Nishinaka finished his latest series of paper sculptures for Lao Feng Xiang Jewelry, he sent them off hoping everything would turn out awesome. “I had no idea what to expect when I sent the flowers over to James Benard, of BENARD DESIGN, and I was more than pleasantly surprised,” Jeff explains. “I was shocked by how beautiful they turned out.”
Jeff is a sculptor, who frequently oversees the photography of his work, but for this project he wasn’t photographing the flowers that he created. And James had them shot them in a very unique way, by photographer Horacio Salinas. The paper for these flowers is no different from what Jeff usually uses, but it has a very different look. That comes from how James shot them. “James said they raked them with light,” says Jeff. “Basically, it was extremely side lit. The light skimmed the surface of the paper. It shows the texture of the paper. The texture is always there but normally you don’t see it. They were going for something very dramatic. And it worked.” Every fiber and pore of the paper is thrown into deep relief as a result of lighting the pieces this way, affording a completely different feeling than could be achieved in any other set up.
The shock that Jeff feels is because it could have gone another way. It’s a delicate balance between light, shadow, maintaining textural and structural integrity, all while supporting the original conceit of the creative idea. All the sculptures Jeff creates are the result of an incredible amount of work that could be distorted by particular lighting setups, so it was a thrill that something so unconventional turned out so well. When designing the flowers for this campaign, Jeff says, “I did have artistic license to change things to make them look better, more aesthetically pleasing. Not all flowers are created equal. They have flaws in them. So I try to design something that works compositionally, that works as a single unit.” The compositions were then delivered to BENARD DESIGN, who got to see the actual jewelry within hours of the final shoot, all using lighting that was a surprise to Jeff. Each element was carefully considered, but constructed quickly and the results, as Jeff says, “worked out beautifully.”
Jeff Nishinaka and Tatiana Arocha for DFS Galleria
DFS, the world's leading luxury retailer catering to travelers, tapped B&A's Jeff Nishinaka and Tatiana Arocha to create a campaign for T Gallerias, the brand's new generation of department stores.
"The brief consisted of images of models and products Photoshopped with paper sculptures I made for past projects," said Nishinaka. "There was also a storyboard for a stop-action video ... and the concept was to represent parts of Asia and Hawaii using a white, dreamy, and surreal landscape."
After submitting rough sketches and a round of revisions, "I went on to draw clean blueprint like drawings to actual size of the paper sculpture," he recalled. "From there, I transferred the drawings to paper, then cut, cleaned, and shaped each piece, and glued them together. Building a paper sculpture is a step-by-step process where one step has to follow another in order and [you] can't skip around." Although he describes his method as "labor-intensive and time-consuming," Nishinaka uses basic tools: an X-Acto knife, tweezers, a pencil, a kneaded eraser, wood and acrylic dowels, a French curve, triangles, and "good old Elmer's Glue-All."
The finished print ads mark the first time Nishinaka has combined paper craft and people. Upon seeing the results, he was amazed by the chemistry between his sculptures and model Karen Elson. "I was happy beyond expectations!" he remarked. "The look of wonderment in Karen's eyes just worked."
For the video component, Nishinaka relied on Arocha; as he said, "I made it and [Tatiana] made it come alive!" She transformed six of his tableaux into animated pieces, adding her own sensibility.
"I started by using Jeff's sketches, before he had made anything physical, and imagined different scenes for each piece, sometimes combining them where I felt like I could make a narrative," Arocha explained. She aimed to make a series of vignettes that subtly mimicked nature during its calmest moments, providing a canvas for showcasing DFS' products. "Once these compositions were approved, I made some rough motion tests in After Effects. With these tests, I was able to give Jeff a more precise idea of what additional pieces and elements he would need to create in order to bring his paper world to life."
Following three days in the studio (and 700 photos snapped), Arocha began to edit; "the last part was to adjust the color correction so all levels and tonalities were similar or matched." It took one month to complete the short film. "It was the most interesting and fun experience I've ever had with another artist," she said. And both Arocha and Nishinaka mentioned how much they enjoyed working with the rest of the team.
Paper sculptor: Jeffrey Nishinaka
Director: Tatiana Arocha
Director of photography: David Griffiths
Producer: Gabrielle Lirot
Stop-motion animation: Taylor Jordan and Hayley Morris
Gaffer: Perry Styga
Compositing: Jose Luis Gonzalez
Rotoscoping: Owen Hammer
Agency: AR New York
Client: DFS GALLERIA
Chief creative director: Raul Martinez
Executive creative director: David Israel
Jeff Nishinaka for Kleenex
Paper sculpture artist Jeff Nishinaka shows us his softer side with a new project for Kleenex tissues and JWT Shanghai. The stunning elegance of Jeff’s paper art calls for a new definition of paper, and over the past 15 years he’s built up international recognition for his unique 3-dimensional art forms.
For Kleenex, Jeff made these two lovely posters to help Chinese audiences let their softer side out. Jeff worked with creatives at JWT to design and paper cut the portraits plus type and turn them into stunning 3D posters which were displayed in a variety of locations such as a screening of a sad movie where people might need a tissue. To incorporate Kleenex tissues, Jeff cut a hole in the back to allow access to the inner structure from behind. The tissues coming from the eyes as tears play off the “let your softer side out” project slogan.
Tis the Season with Starbucks
Artist Jeff Nishinaka, calligrapher Sarah J. Coleman and photographer Mark Lund collaborated on Starbucks' latest print campaign, "Rekindle the Spirit." Nishinaka created the decorative paper sculptures that provide fine detail to the ads including the snowscapes, snowflakes and red birds. Sarah J. Coleman hand-rendered the whimsical type for each of the seven ads. Nishinaka was on set meticulously crafting and placing these wintery backdrops for Mark Lund to photograph. The seven selected images will appear in print ads rolling out this month.
Jeff Nishinaka for BulwarkJeff Nishinaka creates an elaborate and intricate sculpture for Bulwark. The apparel company specializes in high-end, fireproof protective clothing for industries such as oil and gas, electrical, and manufacturing. Nishinaka was commissioned to sculpt an industrial worksite completely out of paper. The 3D sculpture features a facility with oil derricks, electrical switches and piping systems, and paper people scattered throughout. The project took eight months of intense work by Nishinaka to create. The final sculpture measured ten feet long and more than twelve feet tall.
The project is promoted in Bulwark's film 451
Jeff Nishinaka Creates Paper Art for LexusJeff Nishinaka has created an original paper art piece for Lexus's new "Fresh Perspectives" series. "Fresh Perspectives" challenges six young artists to create original pieces of art in 24 hours around the themes of "escape," "challenge," and "empower." The series pulls together 45 different videos including artist biographies and time-lapsed photography of the works in progress. Lexus's newest hybrid, the CT 200h, is featured in each video.
Nishinaka chose to work with the "challenge" theme. He calls himself "very analog in this digital age," due to his preference for working with simple, basic tools and with his hands. Nishinaka uses flat paper that is bent, folded, scored, layered, and lit. The piece he created for "Fresh Perspectives" is a house on a cliff. He cuts out hundreds of pieces of paper to create just one piece as it leaves room for improvisation. Of the final piece, Nishinaka says it represents a challenge "to find myself on a cliff, to make it to the top, to survive. To maintain a certain level of achievement." He added buildings on the cliff to represent something strong and long-lasting.
The series launched on April 18th and will be promoted on MSN.com and other social media sites.
See more of Jeff Nishinaka's work here.
Production: BRW USA
Production: Microsoft's Branded Entertainment and Experiences Team
Direction: Sniper Twins
Artist: Jeff Nishinaka