Featured Art

Paper Birds: Interview with Johan Scherft


Johan Scherft

If you love birds like me, you will really like this week’s featured artist, Johan Scherft. Johan is a Dutch artist who makes paintings, etchings, drawings and papercrafts. Among his many subjects are mysterious landscapes,strange animals from another time and realistic paper birds.

J.S. Birds1

One of his most fascinating projects is making realistically accurate paper birds!

Johan Scherft was born in 1970 in Leiden, the Netherlands. At an early age he exposed a talent for drawing, and also an interest in animals and nature. Jahan started bird papercraft at the age of 14. He then studied at The Royal Academy of Arts in The Hague focusing on graphic design, free painting and drawing.

“These birds were inspired by the paper models of flying birds, designed by the english artist Malcolm Topp. ” With these self created models, and other drawings, Scherft was accepted to the royal academy of arts in The Hague.

J.S. Birds2

After studying graphic design for two years, Scherft switched majors and began to study free painting and drawing, in which he graduated in 1993. He has been working as a free artist since then, mainly concentrating on painting, but also etching, mezzotint, drawing and illustrating.

J.S. paintings1

The themes of the oil paintings are varied, but nature is the most important source of inspiration.The paintings of the ‘water worlds’ and the ‘tree houses’ are the products of the last three years. These paintings are made after models of boats and tree houses Scherft created from paper. The paintings of the ‘water worlds’ show a surreal world at small size in which people and animals are floating on peculiar boats, trying to survive. The tree houses show a romantic world of man in harmony with nature. However the tree houses, like the boast, are fragile and not meant to last.

J.S. Waterworld I

J.S. Treehouse

J.S. Robot

The work of Johan scherft has been on display many times, mainly in the art-gallery Petit in Amsterdam, gallery van Heijningen in The Hague, and the new realism stock-exchanges which takes place yearly in the Terminal Halls in Amsterdam. He has also participated in exhibitions in museum ‘De Buitenplaats’ in Eelde, and museum ‘the Lakenhal’ in Leiden. Scherft now works and lives in Leiden, The Netherlands. (Official website)

“With these paper birds, and other papercrafts, Johan shares his interest in nature with enhousiastic hobbyists worldwide.” (Facebook)

In this tutorial you can see how Johan makes the Kingfisher:

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