3:53 PM May 10, 2022
A former Ipswich School pupil has been named on the Forbes 30 Under 30 Europe 2022.
JR CHUO, 19, is the youngest person to be included on the arts and culture list.
The young artist, who left the independent school, in Henley Road, aged 18, uses traditional Japanese papercutting techniques to create intricate designs.
He has exhibited his art in Milan, Tokyo and Dubai, all before the age of 20.
He is proud to have made this year’s Forbes list.
“It’s been a goal of mine for such a long time,” he said
“I’ve always wanted to be part of that global community of young entrepreneurs doing inspiring things in their respective industries.
“To have it happen over ten years before I turn 30 is a complete dream.”
It was on a trip to Japan aged 12 that JR fell in love with papercutting.
“It was after seeing some of the Japanese papercut pieces that were traditionally used to print designs onto the kimono that I started experimenting with different techniques.”
He is heavily influenced by Japanese culture, which provided the inspiration for his art name.
“The first two letters are my initials, and Chuo stands for central. It’s the name of a Japanese train line as well, as a lot of my early work was inspired looking at Japanese subway maps.”
Now, his art is rooted in environmentalism.
“A lot of my work is inspired by coral, and coral bleaching, and the impacts of climate change on coral reefs,” JR explained.
“I want to be able to transmit that message to the viewer of the importance of environmental protection.
“I recently partnered with an environmental NGO called ‘Coralive,’ and a percentage of my revenue from sales now funds the placement of a number of corals in the ocean.
“I’m currently funding restoration projects in the Maldives and Madagascar.”
JR started focusing on building his profile during lockdown, putting on online exhibitions and reaching out to curators.
He had his first in-person exhibition in March 2021, and has since exhibited internationally.
JR is currently studying Asian and Middle Eastern Studies at Cambridge University, and looks forward to spending a year abroad in Japan next year, where he hopes to display his first solo exhibition in Tokyo.