Animal Inspiration and Patience

My original intent was to post my Slipcovers for your walls, casartblog post here this week but then I received these incredible pictures of animal sculptures made with cut paper. I’ll do a little of both. Plus, you’ll see an appropriate mention at the bottom in light of Mother’s Day this Sunday.

Firstly, here’s a snippet of the Animal Inspiration post:

 I recently learned of a new video about one of my favorite artists, Jane Kim, of Ink Dwell Studios. The video not only depicts her creative process but explains how she paints with Nature always in mind, through animal inspiration.

Jane’s artistic talent is tremendous as is some of her projects.

We’ve posted about Jane and Ink Dwell previously regarding the project (and here on AIE), in which she used Casart wallcoverings as templates to paint the continents for her exceptional and huge mural at Cornell University’s Ornithology Lab.


Many birds painted by Jane Kim / Ink Dwell

Jane has also completed an ocean collage mural at Baltimore’s National Aquarium, which I’m dying to go see, using a combination of paint and cut paper techniques, and that perfectly leading into part two of this post.

Jane-Kim_livingseashore_inkdwell_18-960x423_AIEClick here to read more of the full story...

Another amazingly talented artist using Nature and animals as their inspiration is Calvin Nichols. He creates incredibly intricate paper sculptures. He’s such a keen observer of his subjects. It’s almost as if he’s created a 3D format for scientific illustration. I love how the pieces break their framed boundaries, which is very indicative of trompe l’oeil artwork, but this is not because you know it is not real, however, the intricacy and detail is just as jaw- dropping in wonderment.

(Most of the wording below is taken from the email that I received — so I cannot take credit for it.)

1_Paper Sculpture Calvin Nichols_AIEHe has worked 25 years to perfect his method. First he draws his subject, then he cuts paper shapes to create the foundation or form upon which more intricate cut paper is adhereed on top. It must take pain-staking patience. (Something I lose more and more as I get older.)

This particular series is appropriately titled, “Paper Zoo.”Fish_Paper Sculpture Calvin Nichols_AIEBut he doesn’t just draw on it. He shapes it to create intricate works of staggering detail and beauty. 2_Paper Sculpture Calvin Nichols_bear-process_AIE 3_Paper Sculpture Calvin Nichols_bear_AIETo make the art, he starts by observing real-life animals and their movements. 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. 4_Paper Sculpture Calvin Nichols_hummingbird process_AIE 5_Paper Sculpture Calvin Nichols_hummingbird_AIE 6_Owl_Paper Sculpture Calvin Nichols_AIEThe 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. Each small piece can take many weeks to complete. Owl Paper Sculpture Calvin Nichols_AIEIt’s incredibly delicate work. Each small piece can take many weeks to complete. Flying Birds_Paper Sculpture Calvin Nichols_AIEWhile the bigger ones can take months, or even years. Flying Doves_Paper Sculpture Calvin Nichols_AIE Dog_Paper Sculpture Calvin Nichols_AIE

The texture he’s been able to achieve gives the illusion that it must be soft. Make you want to touch it to find out.

Fox_Paper Sculpture Calvin Nichols_AIEHis work has been featured in National Geographic, as well as numerous galleries and art shows all over the world.

The porcupine is probably my favorite with all those wispy paper pieces.Porcupine_Paper Sculpture Calvin Nichols_AIEHe uses X-ACTO knives, scalpels, and scissors in the construction of his critters. Beavers_Paper Sculpture Calvin Nichols_AIE Bobcat_Paper Sculpture Calvin Nichols_AIE Mama Monkey_Paper Sculpture Calvin Nichols_AIEThis intricacy of this money and his face captures our emotion when viewing.Monkey Surprise_Paper Sculpture Calvin Nichols_AIE Orangutan_Paper Sculpture Calvin Nichols_AIE Bamboo Bear_Paper Sculpture Calvin Nichols_AIEThe 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.

I’m not sure how he was able to achieve the realism of these zebras with different colored paper but his work is for sale and he does demonstrations, so worth looking into.Zebras_Paper Sculpture Calvin Nichols_AIEIf you’d like to learn more, for there is not much info about this artist on his website except that he is from Canada, go to his Facebook page to see his most recent news.

In keeping with our animal inspiration theme and with Mother’s Day this weekend, here’s a beautiful mural that could use some motherly care in the Mothers Building, which was originally designed to be a resting place for nursing mothers at the San Francisco Zoo. The building, with its Greco-Roman style and WPA project murals, was built in 1925 but has been closed to the public since 2002. The murals visually depict the story of Noah’s Ark in the largest existing, egg tempera work in the Western US. They could soon be lost and are in need of repair. Click here to read more of the story.

Full Mothers Building Mural_475x316_AIE

images via San Francisco Chronicle

Mothers Building Mural_475x316_AIE Lamas in Mothers Building Mural_475x316_AIE

A Venture into Viral-Like Expanses Via Paper Art

I thought this interview with Charles Clary, a Tennessee artist out of Nashville was fantastic. Yatzer does a good job of interviewing Clary to see how his creative process clicks. His experiments with paper kinda take on a “viral” quality — building upon forms that cause the viewer to reflect on spacial relationships that grow and go beyond what is expected.

Charles Clary via, as seen on Art Is Everywhere

All Charles Clary photos via

Charles Clary via, as seen on Art Is Everywhere

Here is Clary’s own description of his work:

By layering the paper I am able to build intriguing land formations that support both mechanical and organic life forms. These strange landmasses contaminate the surfaces they inhabit with their viral growth, transforming the space into a suitable living environment. Towers of paper and color jut into the viewer’s space inviting playful interactions between themselves and this conceived world. These worlds escape reality, growing beyond my control. With each new evolution, these worlds continue to grow and morph into strange new embodiments, developing new and limitless manifestations of viral like expanses…..My goal is to immerse the viewer in these environments so that they start to loose themselves in it and are completely engaged peripherally. I want you to feel as if these environments could be macro or micro and you don’t really know which without a point of reference. You begin to question whether or not you’re a voyeur into this world or if this world is voyeuristically encroaching upon your own.

Personally, I like the coloration and other-worldly quality of his artwork. It reminds me of the look of quilling but has the process of cutting and shaping and building on top of platforms. No hidden messages here, just a lot of time, talent and patience.

Charles Clary via, as seen on Art Is Everywhere

Charles Clary artwork via, as seen on Art Is Everywhere blog

Charles Clary artwork via, as seen on Art Is Everywhere blog

Charles Clary artwork via, as seen on Art Is Everywhere blog

Although Clary mentions in the interview that he’d invite Frank Lloyd Wright to dinner if given the chance and he listens to a broad range of music by Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Muse, Cat Stevens, Muddy Waters, and the Flaming Lips (just to name a few on the list that I like); I think his artwork reminds me of Yes and that album cover that I can’t just seem to get out of my head, not to mention Avatar (for heaven’s sake — not a great movie, in my estimation, but fabulous graphics).

Yessongs via Vinyl, as seen on Art is Everywhere

Yessongs via Vinyl

Yessongs via Vinyl, as seen on Art is EverywhereBut this is not the album cover, however, that I remember. Maybe it’s on Andreas Vollenweider?….

Andreas Vollenwieder Caverna Magica via vinyl

Andreas Vollenwieder Caverna Magica via vinyl

Nope, but close and who knew that this was such a rare album, and yes, I happen to have it in my stash. Well, visually, I’m at a loss. I can see the image but can’t seem to locate it. In the meantime, here’s a tribute to Yes, with Roundabout, (one of the best jams) to Kick Start the Weekend.