Video

You might not believe it, but these animals are made entirely out of paper

Calvin Nicholls makes art out of tiny hand-cut pieces of paper to create incredibly accurate depictions of wildlife with a magical effect.

Calvin Nicholls takes cutting and pasting to a new level with sculptures made from hundreds of pieces of paper

(Calvin Nicholls)

When you think of using paper as an art medium, you might think first of origami or kids' crafts. But when Calvin Nicholls uses paper, it turns into something else altogether.

Nicholls's pieces featuring animals are all made of tiny hand-cut pieces of paper, layered and glued in a painstaking and intricate act. The result? Incredibly accurate depictions of wildlife with a magical effect.

Watch the video:

We visit the artist in his Lindsay, Ontario studio to get a closer look at his incredibly detailed sculptures. Filmmaker: March Mercanti. 3:19

Nicholls has been a lover of nature ever since he can remember. And that love is evident in his artwork. He explains: "My inclination is to dig deeper and appreciate differences like: how are the primary features different on the vulture from the robin? That's what seems to add to the effect, or to the moment or the authenticity of these gorgeous creatures."

Paper is a tricky material to work with, which means Nicholls's larger pieces can take up to four months to create. But paper also offers a quality and depth that's distinct from painting, which is why he's chosen it as his medium. "When people look at my artwork, they love to be surprised. 'What is that material? Is that bone? Is that clay?' At a distance it's not clear." In this video, get inside Nicholls's appreciation for detail as you watch the process unfold.

(CBC Arts)
(CBC Arts)
(CBC Arts)

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About the Author

March Mercanti

March is a filmmaker who is living and working in Toronto. He is a frequent contributor to CBC Arts.