Paper is a versatile medium for art -- you can cut it, fold it, collage it, shred and twist it. One can even mold it, as Colorado-based wildlife artist and natural history illustrator Tiffany Miller Russell does, in order to create animal-inspired artworks that attempt to capture their vibrant personalities. Watch Miller Russell at work in this time-lapse video:
While some may offhandedly assume that animals aren't conscious, Miller Russell explains that animals don't necessarily need to prove their sentience to us:
I’ve always felt a connection to animals. They have personalities and go about the world in their own ways that matter to them. Humans can anthropomorphize them, and cultures can bound them up in symbols and mythology, but that makes little difference to these creatures which have been going about their business and doing their own thing for millennia.
To start, Miller Russell will first create a drawing of the creatures she would like to create. She then selects a variety of found specialty papers, which are cut, molded and shaped by hand into a three-dimensional collage on top of the drawing.
The results are phenomenal: realistic wild creatures of the air, waters and earth that seem to breathe, swim and jump right off the page, making their way through layered paper landscapes.
Other works are inspired by both current and historical reality versus myth, as "Dragons in the Darkness" alludes:
The olm, or proteus, is a cave salamander related to the mud puppy and found only in caves of the Dinaric Alps of Europe. Known to science for hundreds of years from animals washed from the caves during heavy rains, olms were once believed to be the larvae of dragons. Deep in the dark earth, they rule both their own silent waters, and the realms of our imagination.
Part of the mission of any artist is to convey some kind of message with their art. For Miller Russell, her art is about sharing her feelings of wonder about the natural world:
I delight in the unique and unusual, and my goal when creating is to communicate with my viewer that excitement. I hope to pass along a little bit of wonder for the world around us.
To see more, visit Tiffany Miller Russell.