Spider webs, grass, bare branches and insects surround a young woman in a black dress who stares solemnly at the viewer. But look closely and you’ll soon realize that the gothic-style scene in interconnected, in the most literal sense. Every branch, blade of grass and strand of hair is cut from the same, single sheet of paper in a Japanese art form known as kirie. It’s the work of artist Ayaka Chigira, a student at Musashino Arts University who created the piece as part of her graduating senior thesis exhibition.

“Sukima ni tomeru” (meaning, to fasten the gap) is an elaborate portrait created by Ayaka Chigira and intricately cut from a single sheet of black paper. Even the strands of hair are individually cut and then braided together, creating a three-dimensional element within a largely two-dimensional canvas.

Chigira, a graduating senior from Tokyo’s prestigious Musashino Art University, is presenting the piece as part of her graduating thesis exhibition. You can keep up with the artist on Twitter.

In Japan, early spring is graduation seasons so around this time of year we often feature some of our favorite student work from the thesis exhibitions of Japanese art and design universities. You can find all ourĀ previous posts here.