If you take the time to observe the beautiful colors, shapes, and textures of individual tree leaves, it becomes clear that they’re nothing less than wondrous works of art created by Mother Nature herself. But however beautiful, their lives are short-lived. Come winter, Mother Nature wipes the canvas clean – leaves fall from trees and are swept away by the wind, destined to wither into nothingness in her preparations of starting anew in the springtime.
But under the masterful touch of Indonesian artist Adek Dimas Ajisaka, the ephemeral beauty of leaves are not only preserved but amplified to new levels. Ajisaka breathes a second life into fallen leaves by using them as canvases for his impossibly detailed works, which range from standard portraits to replicas of Frida Kahlo’s iconic paintings.
“零落成泥碾作尘”，这大概是大多数凋零的花瓣与叶片的最终归宿。随之消逝的，也有那浑然天成的色彩、形状、纵横交织的脉络。而在来自印尼的年轻的叶雕艺术家 Adek Dimas Ajisaka 的手中，脆弱的叶片肌理被完美地利用起来，甚至精雕细琢地剪刻出梵高、弗里达和更多肖像画。行将消失的枯叶，竟宛若重生。
“It all started from my desire to explore a variety of mediums,” he recalls of his initial inspirations. “I wanted to create on unexpected canvases, so I began considering what could be used as substitutes. Through experimenting, I finally began using leaves in 2014. I only drew on them in the beginning, but I wasn’t quite satisfied by that. Then, the idea to carve images onto them happened.”
While it’s possible for many different types of leaves can be used, Ajisaka favors teak leaves. Their wide surface area, inherent texture, and sturdiness have made it an ideal medium for him.
Adek 用以剪刻的树叶是柚木叶的一种，平坦柚木叶的表面大到足以画出一个物体，而质地又不软不硬，便于作为剪刻的“画布”。对此，Adek 说：“我渴望探索各种艺术媒介，因此想到了许多可以用来代替画布的绘画媒介。用树叶创作的方法始于 2014 年。但若单纯在树叶上作画，我会觉得呈现上还略有欠缺，所以我以剪刻树叶来创作成品。”
Ajisaka attributes the project’s success to a willingness to experiment and receiving the encouragement to do so. But like many other talented individuals, Ajisaka’s ambitious nature continues to expand his personal creative boundaries. He tells us, “It was helpful that the project was strongly supported by my school, the Indonesian Institute of the Arts Yogyakarta, but I experimented a lot. I still try to find new and interesting subjects all the time. I want to make even more art outside of this medium. On the side, I’ve also been practicing a bit of traditional illustration, sculptures, and other various crafts.”
在利用树叶作为艺术媒介的过程中，Adek 受到的启发来自他平时所看到的实验艺术和对身边生活环境的观察结果。“在创作的过程中，我做了大量的实验，试图找到有趣的新事物。它也得到了来自我学校 ISI YOGYAKARTA 的主题项目的有力支持。我还会练习绘画技巧，做雕塑和工艺品。”
Being that leaves are such a brittle medium, it may come as no surprise that the toughest aspect of the creation process is for Ajisaka to maintain a steady hand. Any mistake, however minor, can result in the entire leaf being damaged and the work ruined. Aside from the meticulous care that needs to be taken during the creation process, preserving the completed artwork can be equally difficult – he employs special chemicals to embalm each leaf after he’s done with cutting. The chemical hardens it and prevents the leaf from further decay. “It’s similar to how paintings are finished off,” he tells us. “I also layer it with a varnish for extra protection so my leaves can last a long time.”
Despite the painstaking process behind each piece of leaf art, Ajisaka has no plans of stopping. “For me, creating with leaves just feels way more enjoyable,” he tells us. “It’s a unique medium and finishing something feels really rewarding.”