Calvin Nicholls' Amazing Paper Art
Sunday, January 29, 2023

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Canadian artist Calvin Nicholls creates amazingly beautiful sculptures using sheets of paper. "Calvin has been creating his paper sculptures since 1986 from his studio north of Toronto Ontario, Canada.This particular series is appropriately titled, "Paper Zoo." To make the art, he starts by observing real-life animals and their movements.Working with sheets of paper and a scalpel, he cuts the component pieces to fit the final drawing and assembles the low relief artwork under studio lighting. When the sculpture is complete the lighting is adjusted to bring out the subtle form and texture. A large format camera is used to capture the detail on 8×10 film prior to scanning for print applications or art prints."




He takes numerous sketches that he will later use as reference for his paper art.  He then cuts up thousands of tiny pieces of paper and pastes them together to form each animal. The texture he is able to achieve with this technique is astounding. Given that he's only working with white paper, the details must be exactly right in order to create the appropriate depth and shadowing.




It's incredibly delicate work. Each small piece can take many weeks to complete.  While the bigger ones can take months, or even years.  His work has been featured in National Geographic, as well as numerous galleries and art shows all over the world.




He uses X-ACTO knives, scalpels, and scissors in the construction of his critters.  Fur is an especially difficult texture to create, so animals make for a distinct challenge.




Feathers are also very hard to replicate. Just look at the texture on the hummingbird's belly. They almost look like they could be alive!




The commitment these amazing pieces of art require is just mind-blowing. Can you imagine how frustrating it would be if you messed up a little detail on those pieces? Talent like this just doesn't come around that often.