Artist Calvin Nicholls

Biography of
Calvin Nicholls

View artwork

Print Bio PDF


Inspired by the role art plays in communication, I began my art adventure by enrolling in the Graphic Design program at Sheridan College in Oakville, Ontario. Assignments in a class called Materials and Structures provided an instruction to the idea of paper as a medium. Five years later in 1983 as a freelance graphic designer, I included paper sculpture imagery in one of my design projects and I was instantly hooked. Enthused by the effects achieved through simple scoring and folding I expanded my search for specialized knives and embossing tolls. Consultation with paper mills, while researching paper for my design projects, had provided a valuable understanding of the various types and weights of fine papers. A select line of archival papers of varying weights proved to be perfect for fine detail and structural components. The introduction of paper sculpture to my design clients provided a fresh look for their marketing campaigns and a distinct look and personality to my own portfolio. Combining my childhood interests in model making, sculpture, drawing and photography was fulfilling but in 1986 I sculpted my first bird and everything changed. I realized that the layering of feathers was the perfect application of this amazing art form. Images from my youth of wild fowl on the wing, hawks soaring overhead and songbirds punctuating the rural landscape rushed through my mind and I recognized the opportunity that lay in front of me. In 1989 I released my first series of wildlife prints and two short years later I completed the first of seventy-five sculptures for Follet Library Resources near Chicago that would establish my career as a wildlife paper sculptor. Collaborating with corporate clients, private collectors, wildlife photographers and biologists continues to inspire me in this wonderful art adventure from my home based studio in Lindsay, Ontario.


Society of Animal Artists Award of Excellence 1996, 2015 (SAA)
Evelyn and Peter Haller Memorial Award for Sculpture 2016 (SAA)
SAA Artists’ Choice Award 2015 Roger Tory Peterson Museum of Natural Science(SAA)

Graphic Design – Sheridan College Oakville Ontario

Society of Animal Artists – Annual Members Exhibitions

36th 1996 – The Witte Museum in San Antonio Texas
(Award of Excellence – 20”h x 17”w Hawkeye)

37th 1997 – The Shot Tower Gallery Columbus Ohio
Wolf Study – Gray Wolf – 12” x 12” x 2”

43rd – 2003 – Hiram Blauvelt Art Museum 705 Kinderkamack Road
Oradell NJ 07649 – Tenderfoot Canada Jays 15”w x 20”h

55th – 2015 – Roger Tory Peterson Institute Jamestown NY
Wilson’s bird of paradise – 10”w x 14.5”h
Artists’ Choice Award, Award of Excellence

56th – 2016 – The Houston Museum of Natural Science, Houston TX
Sheer Power – tiger – 20.5” w x 15.5”h
Evelyn and Peter Haller Memorial Award for Sculpture

57th – 2017 – The Hiram Blauvelt Art Museum 705 Kinderkamack Road Oradell NJ
Fufua – lilac-breasted roller – 26.5”h x 20”w

58th – 2018 – The James Museum of Western and Wildlife Art St. Petersburg FL
Mate in the Mist – pileated woodpeckers – 21”w x 13”h

59th – 2019 – The Briscoe Western Art Museum 210 W. Market Street San Antonio TX
Naptime – grizzly bear 13”h x 21.5”w

Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum
Artist residency and solo show – 30 pieces – March 2013

Birds in Art – Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum 700 12th North Street Wausau WI
2013 – Flight Red-tailed hawk – 24.5”h x 32”w
2014 – Birds of Eden – greater bird of paradise – 38”h x 60”w
2015 – Body Language – Parotia selilata 14.5”h x 10”w
2016 – Iridescence black-billed magpies 20”h x 23.5”w
2017 – Weebale – grey crowned crane – 19”w x 18”h
2018 – Forty Acres – red-tailed hawk – 20”h x 14”w
(purchased by permanent collection LYWAM)
2019 – The More They Saw the Less They Spoke -spotted owls 13”h x 18.5”w
2020 – Against the Cold – mourning dove -15”h x 19”w

Artists for Conservation – International Exhibit of Nature in Art
2015 – Flight – red-tailed hawk
2016 – Sheer Power – tiger – 15”h x 20”w
2016 – Weebale – gray crested crane – 17”h x 18”w
2018 – Roller – lilac-breasted roller 20”h x 16”w
2019 – Red Pine Pause – juvenile white-breasted nuthatch – 7”h x 5”w

Shows in Ontario 1990 – current
Buckhorn Fine Art Festival – Buckhorn Ontario
Algonquin Art Centre Algonquin Park
Lawrence Park Community Centre 2014,15
One-of-a-Kind (spring show)


Beautiful Bizarre Art/Culture/Couture magazine 2020 Australia
Western Art Collector 2020 USA
Living Bird – Cornell Lab of Ornithology USA 2019
Arabella Art and Architecture magazine May 2020 2020
Disney Yearbook – 2017 USA
WorthWhile (financial industry magazine) 2017 USA
Opulence International Magazine 2016 Miami USA
PrivatAir (four articles) 2016 Bern Switzerland
Priority – Singapore Airlines 2016 Singapore
Bliss Art magazine 2011 USA
Hello Canada – 011 Canada
Somerset Studio magazine 2006 – USA
Century Home magazine – 1997 Canada
The Best of 3-Dimensional Illustration 1995
Art Impressions Magazine – 1991 Canada
Canadian Living article – 1987 Canada
Studio Magazine – 1989 Canada

Blogs – social media
Bored Panda
Beautiful Life
Design and Paper
CBC Arts
Boomers Daily

Kirkus Star review 2001
The World Before This One
– author Rafe Martin – cover and 14 illustrations Calvin Nicholls – publisher Arthur A. Levine imprint of Scholastic New York NY

Seventy five wildlife sculptures commissioned from 1995 – 2010 by Follett Library Resources and currently in their corporate art collection in McHenry Illinois USA

Top 12 international window display honours by Harper’s Bazarre for the
David Yurman “An Enchanted Holiday” campaign – seventeen sculptures for display in New York City and Hollywood California winter 2016/17

Paper Perch Nuthatch - Calvin Nicholls
Staccato Male Downy Woodpecker - Calvin Nicholls
Against the Cold - Mourning Dove - Calvin Nicholls