When Diana Beltran Herrera works, she mainly needs paper, glue and scissors. From this she painstakingly designed small beaks, wings and legs. Days later they are finished: life-size paper birds. Even at second glance, the sculptures of the Colombian look deceptively real.
Before she made birds, Beltran Herrera drew them. A few years ago, the artist traveled to Finland and was thrilled with nature there. During a walk on a lake near Helsinki, she began to draw the birds that live there. Back home, she came up with the idea of creating three-dimensional bird figures made of paper.
As early as school, Beltran Herrera began to work with paper: "I felt very connected to the material, but it was also the cheapest, which I had at home." Her passion is still unbroken. Your birds are made entirely of paper. For her work she uses numerous different varieties such as tissue paper, cardboard or colored drawing and artist paper. Only for the feet, the 32-year-old artist sometimes uses some wire to make the animals stand.
Before she starts, Beltran Herrera researches for a long time how the birds look from different perspectives and on the move. She looks at books, illustrations or stamps and sometimes consults with experts. Then she creates a digital sketch using which she first builds a skeleton of paper.
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Then she cuts out small pieces, sometimes she still paints. So it can complement certain details or perfect shades and tones of the paper. If she has all the items, she will arrange the pieces and glue them together carefully. For a paper bird, it needs at least five days, but often more.
The paper artist finds the faces the most difficult, because the birds are supposed to be as realistic as possible, but at the same time funny. Also, sticking to the exact scale is not always easy - especially for large specimens that quickly become unstable. The hardest project so far, however, was a small Mandarin duck, in which alone the plumage has countless details.
Beltran Herrera has already made around 200 birds, including chickens, robins, flamingos toucans, hummingbirds and kingfishers. Which birds Beltran Herrera would like to design? Especially ordinary people like pigeons or seagulls, but also a pelican or a beeper she has set herself. She has not yet ventured into owls or eagles. "I think it's possible, but the patterns are difficult," she says. "It will take a lot of time."
With her project, the artist has a clear goal: "By presenting nature in an interesting way, I hope we become aware of what is out there, and how beautiful, fragile and important the animals are and that we should care more about her. "