A shell acts as a protective shield for land and water dwelling reptiles like turtles and tortoises, making it one of the most important parts of their anatomy. Berlin-based artist Felix Schäfer celebrates this species’ armor in his painting, Treehouse Tortoise, by reimagining it as its own miniature ecosystem. The epic artwork depicts a tortoise roaming through the dry desert, carrying a lush, whimsical woodland on its back.
Schäfer started painting the artwork 2 years ago, but struggled to find the time to work on it since he became a parent to his son, Charlie. “This project has definitely taken longer than expected,” he admits. “I started it before Charlie was even a sparkle. Since learning I would be a dad there were always a million other projects to work on, so my Turtle took a back seat.”
After plenty of hard work and determination, the gigantic, 1.8 x 1.2 meter (5.9 x 3.9 foot) masterpiece is now complete. Rendered in acrylic, the impressive painting is full of fantastical details and objects dotted among the tree village, balanced on the Tortoise’s shell. Schäfer encourages viewers to “find the easter egg, the tiger, the television, whales, and dozens of other hidden gems.”
Scroll down to check out Schäfer’s Treehouse Tortoise painting, plus some more from his ever-growing portfolio. If you like his artwork, you can buy prints and original paintings on the artist’s website. Schäfer also turns his illustrations into tattoos. Check out his body art on Instagram.