The sad thing about talent is that you could live your whole life without ever knowing you had it in the first place. So many of us are preoccupied gawking at the accomplishments of others, that we never take the time to look at the amazing things we’re capable of. Case in point: Akira Nagaya.
Akira is a self-taught kirie (切り絵, paper-cutting) master, and despite the complexity of his designs, his skills come from simple beginnings – a sushi shop. Akira was in his early 20’s working at a sushi bar, when his boss showed him how to make decorations by cutting slices into bamboo leaves. Sound tough? Well, Akira started practicing at home with paper and an X-ACTO knife, and soon found that he had a knack for it.
Over the years, Akira kept up his paper-cutting hobby, even when he eventually opened a sushi place of his own. By that time, however, Akira’s designs had gone from “simple” leaves, to uber intricate designs that looked almost laser cut. But no matter how incredible his skills became, he only ever saw kirie as a hobby.
That is, until a local newspaper came to do a piece on his restaurant, and noticed his artwork instead. Akira recalls the reporters’ encouragement to display his designs in a gallery as “the first time I even considered what I had been doing as art.” Maybe Akira didn’t think his kirie were masterpieces, but the world knew different! Just check out the stuff this guy has been doing:
Now, before you look at Akira’s stuff and think “I can’t do anything like that!” just remember: we’ve all got something we’re good at, and sometimes it takes time to figure that out. For Akira, it took 30 years. So keep doing what you’re doing, and share your hobbies and interests with the world. Who knows what part of that
“wonderful weirdness” that defines you is actually a mad skill in the making?