Five Minutes with Paper Sculptor Jeff Nishinaka

Jeff Nishinaka's paper sculptures are a sight to behold, and with good reason — Jeff has spent his 30+ year career meticulously perfecting this medium, learning everything it can do. As one of the first artists of his kind and world-renowned for his work, it is an honor to have Jeff on ATRBUTE's roster. 

We encourage you to take some time looking through his portfolio, and to take a read through our interview with him below. Our personal favorite is his varied (and extremely relatable!) response to a creative block. Check it out!


If you could describe your work in 3 words, what would those be?
Unique, whimsical, fun. 

Was there a defining moment when illustration turned from a pastime to your career?

I was very young, maybe in the 2nd Grade when I realized my art made the other kids happy. :D

What's the first thing you do when you get a new client brief?

Give myself time to fully understand their needs so I can give it my personal touch and personality.

Early bird or a night owl?

Bit of both actually. Mornings energize me while nights I'm able to concentrate... mid-day, meh...

How do you work past a creative block?

Do something stupid like SCREAM or something smart like calmly walk away and come back in 30 minutes.

How do you reward yourself when you finish a big project?

Clean up the tsunami mess of paper scraps (I'm a bit OCD)... or go grab my favorites foods, a donut & cup o' coffee!

What's your absolute favorite piece of work you created in the past 12 months? 

That would be Koi Fish!
(Image included below.)

If you could give young Jeff one piece of advice, what would that be?

Know that you're the luckiest person alive to be able to do what you love AND get over yourself. Is that two?