Canadian paper artist Calvin Nicholls continues to build striking likenesses of wildlife, featuring birds, bears, and foxes rendered in haut-relief sculpture.
Despite working in monochromatic palettes of white and off-white paper, he imbues the animal portraits with a sense of liveliness and realism. Innumerable slivers of paper create lifelike feathers and fur, and each creature is shown in a naturalistic pose—snuggled down for a rest, or wings stretched in flight.
Calvin Nicholls is an artist from Toronto, Canada, who makes incredibly detailed works of art made entirely out of paper. He’s creating an entire collection of paper animals, complete with individually cut feathers and fur, that pop out of their frames for an incredible 3D effect. Calvin began creating his paper art over 30 years ago. He told: “While freelancing as a graphic designer in the 1980s, I was introduced to the art form and I began my search for tools and archival quality materials immediately.”
He’s now a paper art expert, creating some of the most intricately detailed pieces we’ve ever seen. The process, as you’d expect, is pretty involved, with pieces taking up to a year to create.
He explains: “Everything is drawn before I start cutting, often using the actual drawings as patterns.” The textured, scored and tooled components are secured to a paper form which establishes the basic shape and topography of the subject.
“Referring to my drawings to retain the flow of the fur or feathers, the process can last for weeks or even up to a year on large complex pieces. Some of my largest sculptures are over 2 metres in length but rarely exceed 7-10cm in framed depth.”
Nicholls accepts commercial commissions and some of the works shown below are from a holiday window display for the jeweler David Yurman. You can see a video of the process and installation here, and find more of the artist’s works on his website and Facebook page.