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A 1982 graduate from the Tokyo National Fine Arts University, Japanese artist Hirotoshi Ito first dabbled in metal working before returning to his family business as a stonemason. Rather than focus solely on traditional stonemasonry, Ito used his craft to create clever and unconventional works of art. The stones are collected from his walks along his neighborhood’s riverbed and then carved and combined with other materials to express a sense of warmth and humor.

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“Although I work with various kinds of stones, most of my work consists of optimizing a stone’s original shape…A smile on the beholder’s face is the main motivation for my work,” Ito writes on his website. Influenced by surrealists such as René Magritte and Salvador Dalí, Ito breathes new life into the rock’s rounded and hard shape with unexpected additions, the most common of which is the partially opened zipper that reveals surprising contents from a collection of foreign coins to rows of teeth. Ito works out of his studio in Nagano Province’s city of Matsumoto and his artworks can be purchased from his online gallery.

+ Hirotoshi Ito

Via The Trendologie