Calvin Nicholls’ Breathtaking Bas Relief Paper Sculptures

Canadian sculpture artist Calvin Nicholls has a penchant for getting down to basics and working with paper and scissors to create incredibly detailed bas relief sculptures of wildlife and landscapes. He’s been perfecting his craft since the mid-1980’s and has created a large body of work that has been used in advertising campaigns, institutions, book publishing, corporate gift companies, galleries, and private collections. He started out in the world of graphic design, studying at Sheridan College in Oakville, Ontario, and after running his own freelance design studio in Toronto, eventually made the switch to working entirely with paper sculpture. One of his most prolific collections is located in McHenry, Illinois for the Follett Library Resources and includes over 75 pieces.

As an artist for conservation and a Canadian naturalist, Nicholls carefully creates his pieces using only white and off-white shades of archival paper (occasionally dipping into a few sedate colour palettes for effect), cutting and scoring each tiny piece through a series of techniques that he’s devised with the use of scalpels, scissors and X-acto knives. Working slowly and applying the tiniest amounts of glue on the ends of toothpicks, he avoids creating any ripples in the paper, working the layers up from the bottom, like shingles on a roof. The result is nothing short of amazing.

To view more of his work, and to learn more about Nicholls’ methods, visit his website.

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