Japanese artist Hirotoshi Ito, also known as Jiyuseki, creates unlikely sculptures out of stones and rocks, injecting humor and surprise into a seemingly stubborn material. In some works, life is bursting out of the stone, like his popular pieces revealing a human mouth smiling behind a metal zipper. In another, the source is hidden inside what appears to be a melting ice cream bar.
“Although I work with various kinds of stones, most of my work consists of optimizing a stone’s original shape,” the artist says, in a statement. “I pick up these stones from a river bed in my neighborhood. While utilizing the image that a stone is hard, I think even from now on I would like to express the warmth and humor.”
Ito comes from a family of stonemasons active since the late 1800s, long crafting gravestones and religious statues. While attending Tokyo University of the Arts, he focused on metalwork and acquired skills that are integrated into his personal work today.