misa-sawairi (8 cranes)

“8 Cranes” | leaflets strewn across the street, transformed into paper cranes. Click images to enlarge

If you’re walking down the street and you see a bunch of leaflets strewn across the ground but they’ve been meticulously folded into paper cranes, it’s not the work of a fairy. There’s a good chance you’ve stumbled upon the work of artist Misa Sawairi.

Inspired by her environment, and the different places her feet carries her, the Tokyo-based artist creates whimsical, site-specific installations by subtly altering her surroundings and then photographing them. The results are then juxtaposed in a series of “before and after” shots.

misa-sawairi (7 AM)

“7:00 AM” | a brown paper bag and sticker is subtly transformed into an upright doll

Working in window display, the Tokyo based artist has always enjoyed the act of changing things. “When I’m making a new space, I can find a lot of communication there,” she says. Sawairi pursued her interests through online courses in Spatial Design at the Kyoto University of Art and Design. Now, whether she’s roaming Tokyo or New York, she’s constantly looking for ways to change things; to alter her environment and, by extension, our environment as well.


misa-sawairi (spine)

“Spine” | comic books and magazines are stacked into a pagoda-like structure


misa-sawairi (space journey)

“Space Journey” | visitors will be in for a surprise when they see slippers taking on a mind of their own


misa-sawairi (butterfly)

“Butterfly” | an ugly puddle becomes a charming butterly


misa-sawairi (a fish)

“A Fish” | discarded scraps of wood are transformed into the skeleton of a fish