Colorado-based wildlife artist and natural history illustrator Tiffany Miller Russell uses carefully molded paper to express the unique characteristics of her animal subjects. To start the sculptural works, the artist first creates an original drawing. She then she cuts and forms found specialty papers by hand to build a three-dimensional collage atop the underlying illustration. “I delight in the unique and unusual,” she shares with Colossal, “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.”
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In addition to creating paper sculptures for the past fifteen years, the artist has also volunteered in a zoology prep lab and paleontology lab to further her knowledge and personal passion for evolutionary history. Miller Russell explains, “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.”
The video below offers a time-lapse view of Miller Russell’s hands-on process. The artist tells Colossal that some of her larger tableaux can take up to 300 hours to complete. You can discover more of her three-dimensional animal portraits on her website and Facebook, as well as Etsy, where the artist offers originals and prints for sale.