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Chigirie - Hand Torn Paper







Northwest Artist Robin Panzer uses her own unique style of the Japanese art form, Chigirie, a technique that involves using small hand torn pieces of Thai and Japanese paper to create beautiful images. Robin creates her animal and landscape art completely from hand torn paper without the use of paint.


Observers can’t help but notice Robin’s deep spiritual connection to the animals she creates.  She is known for eyes that are so realistic they capture the souls of the animals she has brought to life in her art. 

​Robin’s sought after commissions are often booked out 2 years in advance and her art has been featured in fine art galleries, art magazines and boutiques. 

In keeping with her great passion, animal rescue, she donates $1 for every new fan “like” to her Facebook Artist Studio Page, Robin Panzer Art ( )


How I Started Creating Chigirie / Torn PaperAbout Me

I am often asked how I came to torn paper as my medium, so I'll share a little anecdote.

As an advocate for animal rescue I am often asked to contribute art to benefit animals worldwide and this was the case back in 2011 when I was working in Acrylics.  This particular cause was brought to my attention by another artist who had gathered a bevy of artist to donate to a special dog rescue.


I realized with many artist donating, there would be an abundance of paintings contributed. I wanted to create something truly unique that would stand out at the auction benefit so I perused my art supplies and came across a box of beautiful papers that had been gifted to me by an artist friend.    As I pulled the papers out of the box, I ran my fingers over their delicious textures with delight.  I've always been very kinetic, wanting to touch every object I come across and the paper spoke to my muse immediately.  I began to tear the papers and see that they had lovely fibrous edges that told me a story from each angle at which I tore them.  I decided that I would use these papers instead to create a portrait of one an adorable male Pittie in need of rescue.  The paper became my palette.  When I was finished I was so tickled with the result and knew that paper would be my medium from that point on. 


The piece auctioned off for a wonderful amount to help the  charity and my phone began to ring off the hook with people wanting portraits created in this manner.  I set up a little Etsy shop and almost immediately a Hollywood actress ordered a portrait and I’ve been booked out 2-3 years in advance ever since and have had  a lot of opportunity to refine the methods of my  medium. 

I thought I had invented this process LOL, it  wasn’t collage and it wasn’t painting on paper or creating a painting and then sticking colored paper on it, it was something completely different from what I had seen and heard of before although I don’t pretend to know all of the art mediums out there.  It was 2 years later that my husband met a Japanese woman who upon seeing my art asked said to him “Your wife creates amazing Chigirie, did she come to Japan to train with one of our Chigirie Masters?”    He said “Cha – what” …LOL.   He came home and told me and after researching this wonderful medium from an ancient Japanese time period we were both floored that I had come to create in much the same manner as described.  Our joke now is that I was a little, male, Japanese Artist in a past life.  

My Clients  are often amazed by the incredible texture that the handmade papers impart to their portraits giving the appearance and texture of fur and feathers.

I love the personal connection of working with a clients to create a portrait that truly captures the personality of their special pet and lucky me, more often than not my clients turn into dear friends after we embark on this creative journey together.

I am a huge rescue animal advocate, I have 3 wonderful dogs who rescued me!



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