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Interview: Johan Scherft - Artist, Extremely Lifelike Papercraft Birds

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Dutch artist Johan Scherft creates beautiful, highly-detailed, and very realistic paper birds. He started making paper art when he was 14.

Johan’s artworks gained him admission to the Royal Academy of Arts in The Hague where he studied graphic design, free painting, and drawing.

Johan works as a freelance visual artist specializing in oil and watercolor paintings, papercrafts, etchings, and drawings.

His work has been exhibited in Art-gallery Petit and the New Realism Stock-exchanges in Amsterdam, in 'De Buitenplaats' in Eelde, and museum 'The Lakenhal' in Leiden.

You may visit his website www.johanscherft.com and Facebook page Johan Scherft papercraft paintings drawings  to explore more of his artworks. You may check him also at Etsy PaperPerch where he offer templates, duplicates and original hand-painted models.


Art by: Johan Scherft | Johan Scherft Papercraft Paintings Drawings | PaperPerch

As an artist, you first started with drawings and paintings.  When and how did you become interested in papercrafts?

Johan Scherft: Actually, my interest in paper craft was before I started to make paintings, but always I had a love for drawing.  As a child I drew a lot of comic books.  My interest in paper craft started when I made a paper Kingfisher.  This was a very sudden interest. I think I made this first paper bird when I was about 14 years old.  Also this was the start of my interest in birds.

Art by: Johan Scherft | Johan Scherft Papercraft Paintings Drawings | PaperPerch

Art by: Johan Scherft | Johan Scherft Papercraft Paintings Drawings | PaperPerch

Art by: Johan Scherft | Johan Scherft Papercraft Paintings Drawings | PaperPerch

What is the most challenging aspect of papercraft compared to other media?

Johan Scherft: Of course, paper is delicate and vulnerable, it needs to be handled with care when you work with in three-dimensions.  As well in the creating process, as in the presentation.  And the medium paper has its limitations, rounded shapes are hard to make.  I find it most challenging to make the piece in such a way that the viewer doesn’t see  it’s paper anymore, to make shapes that are really rounded and to mask the edges of the paper as good as possible.

Art by: Johan Scherft | Johan Scherft Papercraft Paintings Drawings | PaperPerch

Art by: Johan Scherft | Johan Scherft Papercraft Paintings Drawings | PaperPerch

How long does it take for you to finish one masterpiece?

Johan Scherft: It takes about two weeks to design and paint a new model.

Art by: Johan Scherft | Johan Scherft Papercraft Paintings Drawings | PaperPerch

Art by: Johan Scherft | Johan Scherft Papercraft Paintings Drawings | PaperPerch

Can you share to us your creative process with your papercrafts?

Johan Scherft: The designing of a paper bird involves a lot of steps, which makes it always very interesting process.  First designs I usually now make on the computer. I start with designing a basic shape of the head and rump on the computer, and print the flat template of this shape on plane white paper, and on large scale.

When I have the design ready – seldom in one try, often more attempts are neccesary- I scale the model to the right size, I print the outlines of the patterns very vague on good quality, but thin paper.  Then I  do the paintwork with watercolor.  The paintwork is the most time-consuming job.  Next, the model is assembled, but it is seldom right in one time. I touch it up further with paint until its right.  Wings, tails, legs and feet are added in a later stadium.

Art by: Johan Scherft | Johan Scherft Papercraft Paintings Drawings | PaperPerch

Art by: Johan Scherft | Johan Scherft Papercraft Paintings Drawings | PaperPerch

What are you passionate about besides paintings, drawings and papercrafts?

Johan Scherft: I like to play boogie woogie on the piano.  I have a piano in the studio I can play to release the tension of the painstaking paper craft work.

Art by: Johan Scherft | Johan Scherft Papercraft Paintings Drawings | PaperPerch

Art by: Johan Scherft | Johan Scherft Papercraft Paintings Drawings | PaperPerch

What's the best thing in papercrafts?

Johan Scherft: I always like the combination of painting, and working in three dimensions. This is only possible with paper.

Art by: Johan Scherft | Johan Scherft Papercraft Paintings Drawings | PaperPerch

Art by: Johan Scherft | Johan Scherft Papercraft Paintings Drawings | PaperPerch

If you weren’t an artist what would you be doing?

Johan Scherft:  I don’t know really, I guess this is what I am and supposed to do in this life.

Art by: Johan Scherft | Johan Scherft Papercraft Paintings Drawings | PaperPerch

Art by: Johan Scherft | Johan Scherft Papercraft Paintings Drawings | PaperPerch

All images are courtesy of Johan Scherft.

Website: www.johanscherft.com
Facebook: Johan Scherft Papercraft Paintings Drawings
Etsy: PaperPerch