Yulia Brodskaya paper art of her name

Yulia Brodskaya, Crafting Artwork With Paper

Quilling is a form of art that includes the use of strips of paper that are rolled, molded, and stuck together to make decorative designs. This technique is what paper artist and illustrator Yulia Brodskaya employs to create lush, vibrant, three-dimensional pieces of art.

Come to think of it, the style was used heavily in the 19th century by women of relaxation who quilled their time away between tea and gin. Today, Brodskaya’s post-Baroque hued curls are attracting major clients including The Guardian, Nokia, New Scientist, just to mention a few in her portfolio.

Yulia Brodskaya paper art closeup of face with beautiful colours

Not many represent the credibility of a handmade technique of image making like Brodskaya. She claims that digital pictures are not as fascinating to her as handmade ones. Of course, she admits that there are those digital artworks that she appreciates but they don’t arouse such enthusiasm like handmade artworks do.

Furthermore, Brodskaya gets her inspiration from a sheet of paper. Sounds awesomely ridiculous, yet that’s the origin of her magnificent artworks, ‘’If I manage to find some new unusual paper or card, I immediately begin to imagine the new ways of using it in my work’’, she proclaims. Her love of the paper is the reason she enjoys paper crafting.

She also admits that it took her some time to realize her own way of working with the material. Actually, Brodskaya had no idea that the technique she uses is called quilling. Despite everything, she’s keen on it and not prepared to shift on to anything else. Of course, he has tried both origami and collages but the quilling technique turned out to be her favorite.

Yulia Brodskaya paper artwork of face profile

Brodskaya is not only unique in her style of art; her monetizing strategy turns out to be different too. She doesn’t sell her original artworks, she creates the works for specific projects and her clients use the images of the paper works for their own purposes such as magazines and advertising campaigns. And she has won over world-famous companies including The New York Times Magazine, Starbucks, Hermes, Sephora and Godiva.

So where do her original works go? They are well kept in the good hands of Oprah Winfrey, Country Music Association, Ferrero, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and other private collectors.

Brodskaya’s services are undoubtedly on demand but making paper-based images for clients has its challenges too. For instance, once the paper has been stuck together, there’s no undo option, so she always cautions her clients about this issue in advance. Nonetheless, she gets enough time to think and consider the alternatives as the working process is quite slow.

Yulia Brodskaya paper artwork of a tray for advertising campaign

One of her initial tasks was to create seven type-based pictures for the G2 section of the Guardian newspaper. She had only three and a half days to finish a series of texts primarily for Christmas season. She barely slept while undertaking this project as the quilling process is so time-consuming and she was on a tight deadline. But, the dividends were huge.

Brodskaya has also worked with Havas Group and terms the project as one of her favorites. On this one, she enjoyed the image-centered areas of her creativity, as much of the time she was creating designs to present themes in the organization’s 2008 annual report. It was a report with a distinction as it was printed with Brodkaya’s images on one side and the company’s information on the other. With quilling technique, she rendered a picture of a human brain and a lady with streaming hair – decorative work that represented her creativity.

Bio

Yulia Brodskaya was born in Moscow, Russia then moved to the United Kingdom in 2004. Before moving to the UK, she was interested in creative art practices including Origami, Collage, Textile Painting and Fine Art practices. She continued her education in art at the University of Hertfordshire and graduated with an MA in Graphics Communication degree in 2006.

She kept on experimenting and exploring ways of uniting each of the things she likes most; paper, typography, and profoundly definite hand-made specialty objects. She has quickly earned a global recognition for her imaginative paper illustrations and continues to create paper designs for clients around the world.

Many of her beautifully crafted paper works are on her website https://www.artyulia.co.uk/.

 

mural artwork by Shamsia Hassani

Shamsia Hassani – voice of the Afghan woman

One of Afganistan’s first well-known female graffiti artists, Shamsia Hassani creates vibrant murals and paintings portraying women as strong, autonomous beings. In all her work, Hassani usually paints women in Burqas and endeavors to reveal the woman under the burqa. She often draws women in symbolic shapes and adds symbols of the atmosphere that flows around her plus her life experiences.

Most of her murals often show women carrying and/or playing musical instruments which give them a voice for self-expression. Coming from a background where women are usually overlooked, Hassani believes painting women in public can encourage other people to look at women differently.

She uses blue in many of her paintings not only because it’s her favorite color but also because blue is associated with freedom. And for Hassani, freedom is not the removal of the burqa, freedom is to have peace.

Hassani also uses her own art to help convey positive changes to people and particularly to wash away the bad memories of a long long-time war that had occurred in her country.  Even today the place is not entirely safe as Hassani has had to leave some of her street art unfinished in the past to run for her safety.

And these days is not necessarily war, it is political unrest in her country that makes the streets unsafe. And some other times it’s simply because she’s a woman painting in the public space that puts her at risk. She’s reported herself that on several occasions’ people have verbally abused her and even tried to stop her from working.

But she has the will and the heart of a lion, she dreams and executes. Sometime back her family discouraged her from tagging a specific area on the grounds that a bomb had exploded nearby. Of course, it wasn’t safe for her to wait there. She took a photo of the wall, printed a massive image of it and used the picture as a canvas – how smart!

Her concept of working her graffiti out as paintings applied onto prints of pictures taken from various places created a collection she called ‘’Dreaming Graffiti’’. Works from this gallery are easy to transport because they do not adorn street walls. These images have made to exhibitions in the United Kingdom, Australia, Germany, Switzerland, India, Vietnam, and the United States among others.

During her three-month residency at the Hammer Museum in the Los Angeles, Hassani met with local artists and her stay is appreciated by her mural at 4900 W. Adams Boulevard. She also exhibited her work at the Seyhoun Gallery, West Hollywood.

Her story was an inspiration to many and her connection to the Hammer community continues to develop. To the Afghan women, Shamsia Hassani continues to push for their recognition through art while giving them strength to overcome social oppression.

Biography

Born in 1988 in Tehran, Iran, Shamsia Hassani grew up in Afghanistan. She started graffiti in December 2010 when graffiti artist CHU made a visit from the United Kingdom in a workshop organized by Combat Communications in Kabul. Out of the 8 local artists that attended the work, Hassani has been the most outstanding out of her exemplary work and what she stands for. In 2009, she was once shortlisted for the Afghan Contemporary Art Prize.

She received her bachelor’s degree in Arts in 2010 and a master’s degree in Visual Arts in 2014 from Kabul University. She co-founded Berang Art Organization with the aim of promoting contemporary art and culture in Afghanistan through workshops, seminars, programs and exhibitions.

mathieu tremblin and colleague finish up a work of art

The Artist who Makes the Illegible Legible: Meet Mathieu Tremblin

Graffiti is one area of street art that appears to divide feeling the most. The issue of whether it’s art or not is one which we’ve all been involved in.

Yet when it comes to tagging, the vast majority would likely concur that it’s the most repulsive sort of street art. And, what’s significantly more irritating is that it’s quite often illegible. But there’s one man who takes the ugly pieces and transforms them into beautiful, legible artwork.

The name is Mathieu Tremblin. Based out of two diverse French urban cities, Rennes and Arles, Tremblin has an inconspicuous method of making people think somewhat harder.

Style

Tremblin’s work concentrates on issues of ordinary city life, branding and graffiti society. He believes that these pressing issues are best communicated through urban interventions. His pieces figure out how to emerge in Europe’s swarmed graffiti scene, with his greatest works featuring a minimalist look at first impression, just to uncover testing, however, energetic goes up against city culture.

Works and Ideologies

Most of his art can be seen in his two French hometowns. There, he collaborates with his accomplice in the art scene “Ripoulain” and with photography collective “BIP”. His work can also be found in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany.

Project Tag Clouds was born out of Tremblin’s understanding as a street artist. He used to be a tagger and felt the name composing graffiti and particularly tagging, is the ground premise of self-expression in an urban space.

project tag clouds showcasing graffiti repurposed

The artist discovers graffiti tags on buildings, highway underpasses in French towns and garage doors. He lists them, erases them and re-paints them in clear, digital-style typeface – Arial, Times New Roman, Helvetica or Georgia. Tag Clouds is about uncovering that tagging on the chance that you follow and read it; it’s an approach to go through the city in a new perspective.

By using digital typeface, Tremblin doesn’t just make the words neat-regardless of the possibility that they don’t appear to bode well-but additionally makes likenesses to ‘word clouds’ found online, considering on the contrast amongst advanced and physical tags.

mathieu tremblin project tag clouds graffiti turned street art

Tremblin’s interventions are a celebration of graffiti tags rather than a critique. Random graffiti writing used to be viewed as the ugly art in the city but Tag Clouds is out to make a tribute to random writing so that individuals accepts its visual presence by reading it.

Mathieu believes street art tagging is a reaction to an undeniably ‘consumerist space’ in urban areas, brimming with advertising on every surface. And that according to him diminishes the individual articulation of residents to a matter of decision between brands.

project tag clouds by mathieu tremblin

Tremblin’s art continues to inspire many cities, appearing as analysis on a particular point as examined in his work. His work makes a city more energetic, poetic and open to appointment. He’s still open to the idea that can notice and destroy his work since vandalism is in itself an approach to make destructive conversation. Hope you’ll love and appreciate his work, though.

Dito Von Tease: “Thumbtastic” Fingerprints

When one thinks about their own personal identity, the things that make them unique, they may think about a great number of things. It could be their personality or their history. It could be their life’s work, their career. For some artists, they become known for their major, most famous contributions. Shepard Fairey, for example, will now forever be known as the OBEY artist and, of course, the artist of Obama’s HOPE image.

While there are many things every person can point to and say “that makes me unique,” we also have individual parts that make us unique, and one no more recognizable than our fingerprints. And for Dito Von Tease, the artist behind “Ditology,” the finger holds a special place: it’s where he makes his art.

Ditology is a personal project of an unknown Italian artist, Dito Von Tease, which comments on how our fingers and fingerprints are helping us stay anonymous in this digital age. The project sees Dito painting up his fingers as famous celebrities, be it historical figures or more recent celebrities, turning his individualized fingers, with their fingerprints, into renditions of familiar and famous people.

artwork by dito von tease

“In Italian someone could say I wanted to ‘hide myself behind my finger’ (nascondermi dietro un dito): it’s a popular metaphor to indicate a not-very-effective hiding place,” Von Tease explained in a piece for Bored Panda. “In the “digital age”, our fingers are the “tools” we use to keep in touch with the world through touch-screens, mouse pads and keyboards. In a sense, we are all “hiding behind a finger” while surfing the internet… Probably, even in the real life we hide ourselves behind an image of us: a mask we create to protect the uniqueness of our finger-print. This is true especially for celebrities, who live [behind] their masks.”

ditions artwork by dito von tease

To date, Von Tease has created thousands of these fingerprint portraits, with subjects ranging from famous paintings like “The Mona Lisa” to beloved TV characters of days gone by, like “The Addams Family.” The series “Thubtastic,” according to Von Tease, references Facebook’s famous thumbs up symbol, which is a powerful commentary on the contemporary digital experience.

the addams fingers artwork by dito von tease

Anonymity on the internet has been a major issue almost since its inception. Social media sites like Twitter and Instagram, which allow people to create accounts without any connection to their “real world” identities, have only compounded this issue. Musician Jack White famously called the internet a “sea of cowards,” which ties directly to the ways people can harass without real consequences. But for Dito Von Tease, anonymity is a chance to provide some perspective, and some commentary, on our contemporary digital experience. By remaining anonymous themselves, Von Tease offers people a blank slate in which to enjoy his artwork.

Dito Von Tease’s artwork and finger portraits can be viewed on his website, which houses his many portraits as well as his numerous other artistic endeavours.

sucklord

Artist Profile: The Sucklord

Of the many types of artists that roam the streets of New York, there is one that stands separate from the rest. His name is The Sucklord and he has built a mini-empire based on his strange, unique vision of what an action figure can be, and where strange art fits into the art scene.

The Sucklord was born in the West Village, New York City in 1969, the perfect time to see the rise of the action figure in popular culture. When he was eight years old, Star Wars was released in theatres and, along with the film’s box office, a flood of toys entered the marketplace. The Sucklord, then more commonly known as Morgan Phillips, became a lifelong fan of the franchise and was inspired to create his own line of action figures. “I’ve been inclined to make toys my entire life, since I was a kid, since the first Star Wars figures came out,” he said in an interview with The Atlantic. “It became sort of hard-wired into the way I experience the world.”

worlds-most-famous-couple

The Sucklord’s work is perhaps best described as remixing. He will often take discarded and abandoned materials and rework them into something new, something unique. He calls the result “bootleg action figures,” a term he coined when he first started producing his unique figures in earnest in 2005. “Bootleg figures are a lot like sampling in the world of hip-hop, where you take little bits and pieces of different songs, different figures, and recombine them into something new,” he explains. “Hopefully there’s something transformational going on.”

homotrooper

The Sucklord’s work has a hard time being placed in the modern art world but has slowly been gaining notoriety in unconventional places. The Sucklord himself admits that he has a hard time “know[ing] where this stuff belongs.” It’s too “low-brow” for the modern art gallery, with its preconceptions and precarious pretensions, but his figures are a bit too esoteric and adult to find themselves in traditional toy stores. The Sucklord, however, has found two avenues that are bringing his work to the masses: the internet and reality television.

right-on

You can find much of The Sucklord’s work on his site, Suckdelic, where he sells his work, blogs, and profiles many other artistic endeavours. He has also made several appearances on reality TV shows, including Gallery Girls. The show’s stars, who own a store in New York called End of Century, stocked his wares and profiled him on the show. He has also appeared on a number f other shows, all of which feature his eclectic work.

One of the things that make The Sucklord’s work so interesting is its placement. Rather than avoiding commercialism, like how Banksy tries to sidestep capitalism and art, The Sucklord has embraced a modern approach, one that circumvents the normal, established avenues in favour of something more suited to his particular work. By making his own path, he can control his art’s distribution without compromising his vision.

david a smith sign writer rendering gold leaf on glass reverse sign of his name

Artist Profile: David A. Smith

Sign painting is one of the oldest forms of art we have, one that has seen rises and falls in popularity, style, and prevalence. One thing the genre has never lacked is talent, and perhaps the most well-known sign painter in the world has dedicated his life to creating beautiful signs and teaching other artists about the craft and the industry. His name is David A. Smith, and he may just be the most popular sign painter in the world.

Smith got his start in the 1980s when he left school to become an apprentice sign painter with Gordon Farr and two of his associates. He spent the next five years learning the skills of the trade. His teacher, Farr, was a unique teacher, one who “had an almost uncanny ability to paint letters, accurately laid out, without even a preliminary sketch,” according to Smith’s website. It was during this time Smith learned about drafting, letter painting, and how to draw beautiful pictorials.

a book cover rendered by david a smith

By 1992, Smith had opened his own sign painter shop in his hometown of Torquay and specialized in everything from “vehicle graphics to 3D installations.” But it wasn’t until a fateful trip to New Zealand that Smith met Rick Glawson, one of the world’s best-regarded sign painters and a member of the world-famous Fine Gold Sign Company. Glawson was “universally regarded by his peers as the godfather of gilding, with a reputation for sharing his encyclopedic knowledge of glass decoration with eager students of the craft,” and Smith soon became his close friend. Smith learned many new and important lessons about sign painting from his new mentor.

hand made font image rendered with pencil by david a smith

Smith eventually sold his painting shop and now focuses more on Victorian-style glass painting, creating beautiful and intricate works that are sold and showcased around the world. He also teaches and educates artists in the many skills he’s learned from those before him, including Gordon Farr and Rick Glawson. Smith views his educational work as paying the debt forward and “shares the fruits of his study with his many friends, old & new, in the sign trade, through courses, step by step instruction and one-to-one chats on the phone or internet.”

glass emblem gold leaf design rendered by signwriter david a smith

If you are a sign painter or a fan of sign painting, you have probably heard of David A. Smith. His work has become the standard by which glass window signs are judged, not only for their ingenuity and craftsmanship but for their distinctive design. Smith continues to create beautiful pieces of art in the world of sign painting, but also dedicated much of his time to teaching the next generation of sign painters. While sign painting has dwindled in prevalence since Smith began his career, his talent and passion for education ensures that the art will be with us now and into the future.

Artist Feature: Yusuke Asai

Street art is an incredibly important aspect of the art world for a number of reasons, but one of the most important is its openness. The modern idea of graffiti is based on the fact that great artists, often from marginalized groups, couldn’t get their work into galleries and other traditional places where people show off their art. Faced with no place to showcase their skills, these brave artists took to the streets and created a more open and inclusive art community.

Over time, the established art scene and graffiti have melded together: Banksy is shown in galleries around the world while people with classic artistic training, often from expensive schools, have started painting on the streets. The collapse of this binary is almost complete, but there are still people who cannot break into traditional art because of their class, gender, or race.

One such person is Japanese graffiti artist Yusuke Asai. Asai grew up in the Japanese city of Kumamoto and studied ceramics in high school, but his dreams of a higher arts education were dashed based on simple finances. Faced with alternative ways to express himself, Asai started painting murals with literally anything that he could get his hands on, including mud, rice, leaves, and discarded pens. As his skills progressed and his work became more widely-known, Asai switched his entire focus to using earth-like materials, creating murals from soil, straw, and even cow dung.

Asai grew up, like many people in Japan, in a very urban environment, separated from nature by the sheer force of urbanization. His use of discarded objects, specifically dirt, is based both on his approach to class and his upbringing. “I choose to use the earth as a medium because I can find dirt anywhere in the world and do not need special materials,” Asai says on his website. “The collection process and digging in the soil is so much fun, and they strengthen my feeling of connection to a place.”

rice gallery artwork by yusuke asai using texan soil

Since 2008, Asai’s popularity and notoriety has only grown, partially because of his close connection to the Rice Gallery, the world’s only art gallery that focuses on “site-specific” art like Asai’s, but also because of his work around the world. Asais enjoy using the materials from the area, collecting dirt and mud specific to where he’s creating to give it a localized feel. In Houston, for example, he dug up earth that’s unique to the area. In India, his room-sized mural was made up entirely of dirt and mud found in the local area.

Asai’s humble beginnings and insistence on using free, local materials proves that great art shouldn’t depend on class, access, or where you were born. All it should require is a drive and desire to create something with which people can connect. For Asai, that means literally getting your hands dirty and creating beauty from literal dirt. His process is an incredible metaphor and a reminder that art doesn’t require a degree or a gallery.

sten & lex painting a mural

Artist Bio: Sten & Lex

Stencilling is one of graffiti’s most popular methods, raising to new heights thanks to Banksy, but Banksy was hardly the first person to use stencils in their street art. The technique has been popular in street art for decades for a couple of reasons. First, it cuts down the actual amount of time painting the graffiti, which is pretty advantageous when you don’t want to be arrested for making art. The second is the high level of detail that stencilling provides, which can help with the generally imprecise tools of spray paint that graffiti artists generally use. And while Banksy may currently be the most famous stenciller in the world, he owes a great debt to two Italian artists who go by the name of Sten & Lex.

Sten & Lex were both born in Italy and grew up in Rome and Taranto. Their work has been showcased around the world and currently is on the streets of New York, Madrid, and their hometown of Rome. As one of stencil graffiti’s most prominent artists, they have become famous for their detailed work that has, up until recently, almost exclusively dealt in stencilling.

fantastic stencil mural from sten & lex

Stencilling is a form of art that uses cut outs of a design, the stencil, to paint without the need to do the lines by hand. An artist creates the stencil, which is an inverse of the design they wish to make, and puts it over the surface they want to paint. They then spray over the stencil and remove it once they’re finished, leaving the intended design on the surface with little to no spillover.

Sten & Lex were one of the first Italian street artists to use stencilling in their work, but they also pioneered the “halftone stencil” technique, which is when “the greater part of their stencil portraits is composed of thousands of lines,” leading to more complex stencils that can contain a greater amount of detail.

sten & lex stencil artwork

Sten & Lex’s art has traditionally focused on portraiture, choosing anonymous individuals or people they’ve found in their own family photo albums as subjects. Thanks to their methodology, the portraits have a level of detail that many artists envy. Their works have varied from near-photorealism to abstract, but they have also recently turned their attention to other subjects beyond that of portraits. In 2013, they started creating very abstract works, again using stencils, that ranged from plants that also look like fireworks to optical illusions on the sides of buildings. While the artwork remains detailed and still uses stencils, Sten & Lex have also moved it past their usual styles.

sten & lex stencil of man on building with tie

Sten & Lex are an important moment in graffiti art, not just in their home country of Italy, but around the world. Their pioneering work in halftone stencils brought a new level of detail and sophistication to the art style, and their continued exploration of different subjects continues to push the envelope. Banksy may be the world’s most famous stenciller, but Sten & Lex laid an extremely important foundation and continue to develop the techniques that others have drawn from.

photograph of diego rivera

Artist Profile: Diego Rivera

While many people will point to Frida Kahlo as Mexico’s most famous artist, the impact of Diego Rivera on murals, both in his home country of Mexico and around the world, is still felt today. Known for his particularly large frescoes, his work helped to establish the Mexican Mural Movement in Mexican art.

Rivera grew up in Mexico and studied art from a young age. His studies would eventually take him to France and Italy, where he learned from such artists as Eduardo Chicharro, Ilya Ehrenburg, Chaim Soutine, and Amedeo Modigliani. While in Europe, Rivera witnessed firsthand the growing popularity of cubism and his own work saw a heavy cubist influence in those early days. He gradually shifted towards post-impressionism a few years later before coming back to Mexico at the request of Mexican officials. It was during this period that he and two other artists, José Clemente Orozco and David Alfaro Siqueiros, started painting frescos and murals for the Mexican government.

Artwork by Diego Rivera, c.1916, Maternidad

Diego Rivera, c.1916, Maternidad

Rivera’s mural style became and important moment in Mexican history, not simply because of their political messages (much of his work dealt with Mexican history and its major revolution in 1910) but because of their incorporation of Mexican art styles. While trained mostly in Europe, Rivera used “large, simplified figures and bold colors with an Aztec influence.” His frescos also took storytelling techniques from the Maya, and many of his larger pieces tell entire stories. Combining his technical training from Europe with his Mexican heritage, his work became widely renowned and continues as an example of Mexican art to this day.

artwork titled flower carrier painted by diego rivera in 1935

Diego Rivers, c.1935, “Flower Carrier”

Diego Rivera is one of Mexico’s most famous and most notorious painters, mostly due to his volatile relationship with Frida Kahlo. Rivera met Kahlo while he was still married to his second wife, Guadalupe Marín. They met at a party hosted by a mutual acquaintance, Tina Modotti, where Kahlo asked for Rivera’s opinion about her paintings. Later, Rivero was quoted as saying Kahlo’s art had “an unusual energy of expression, precise delineation of character, and true severity … They had a fundamental plastic honesty, and an artistic personality of their own … It was obvious to me that this girl was an authentic artist.”

picture of renouned mexican artists diego rivera and frido kahlo taken in 1932

Frida Kahlo with Diego Rivera, c.1932

Despite being 20 years her senior, and being a noted womanizer, the two married in a civil ceremony at the town hall of Coyoacán on August 21, 1929. They remained married for ten years but divorced due to “their mutual infidelities and his violent temper.” The divorce was short-lived, however, and they remarried in 1940, staying together until her death in 1954.

Diego Rivera is often eclipsed by his wife and life, but his art remains an important moment for muralists and street art. Despite sharing a close relationship with the Mexican government, his ability to weave a distinctly Mexican style into his work helped pave the way for a national character of art. Other countries, such as Brazil, has made similar steps, drawing on the skills of muralists around the world and infusing them with a nationalistic flavour. His work, while largely lost now, is a testament to the importance of producing and supporting local artists.

calvin nicholls paper sculpture featuring an eagle

Calvin Nicholls’ Paper Sculptures

When most artists want to create something fine and delicate, they reach for single-hair paintbrushes or extremely fine pencils. When Calvin Nicholls wants to create a realistic style of sculpture, he grabs a sheet of paper. The former designer combined his love of nature and his desire to create paper sculptures into an ongoing project. Since 1989, his series of nature-based paper sculptures have been seen in galleries around his home province of Ontario, throughout Canada, and around the world.

calvin nicholls artwork feature a bird looking to the right

Paper sculpture is a popular and frequent form of art. You can find it almost anywhere, from your grandma’s scrapbooks to your local art gallery, but the level of detail and craftsmanship in Nicholl’s pieces are rare. His sculptures are almost exclusively 3D models of animals, carefully mounted onto mat-board frames. Each sculpture brims with lifelike realism and, because of the 3D effect, look ready to leap off of their frames. The level of detail can be staggering, especially considering the material, and Nicholls recreates dog whiskers and hummingbird feathers in stunning specificity.

calvin nicholls paper sculpture of a tiger

Nicholls’ process is actually shared on his website as well, where he walks through the simple steps of creating his realistic and beautiful paper sculptures. He starts out by drawing the picture using a pencil, a sort of conceptualization from which he can work throughout the process. From there, he traces from the pencil sketch and transfers the actual paper used in the sculpture. Cuts are made with scalpels and sharp knives to get the perfect angle and cleanest cut. He then uses a toothpick to attach the tiniest amount of glue to the paper pieces and attaches them, starting from the bottom and working his way up. While much of his pieces are white like the paper, Nicholls occasionally uses coloured paper for an accent effect.

calvin nicholls paper sculpture featuring an eagle

The beauty of Nicholls’ work is clearly in the craftsmanship and time dedicated to each piece, but also how the work straddles navigates ideas of realism. Photorealistic detail usually extends past the point of colour, meaning works that try to look as “realistic” as possible often use colour to achieve this. For Nicholls, his highly-detailed pieces are often monochromatic, void of colour, creating a deeper appreciation for the piece in and of itself instead of its adherence to accurate depiction.

Capturing the beauty and majesty of Canada’s natural environments has been a dominant mode of artistic expression in Canada since even before the Europeans arrived. Artists like the Group of Seven made a name for themselves based on natural landscapes and paintings, as did Emily Carr. To see this subject extended to another medium, that of paper sculpture, is a fascinating development. Hopefully, Calvin Nicholls work will continue to be seen and created for Canadians and people around the world.