Look closely at the work of Patrick Cabral and you will find endlessly thoughtful details. His intricate style of paper cutouts resembles the delicate patterns of lace, with layers of white and gold paper perforated with carefully cut circles, rectangles, and other shapes. In this way, he captures the likeness of different species of animals in mesmerizing 3D portraits that look more like digital renderings than paper sculptures.
As a self-taught artist, Cabral has been refining his paper-cutting techniques for years. He's constantly pushing himself to find new and innovative ways to depict a subject. “I like creating work that is difficult to pull off and involves some kind of engineering. I think it's beyond wanting to make pretty pictures but how I can solve riddles along the way,” he explains to My Modern Met. Through his masterful skills, he is able to produce striking effects that make his portraits a mesmerizing sight.
Most of his works depict animals, including lions, hippos, and dragons. The way in which he transforms their real-life appearance into paper cutout form, however, differs each time. Sometimes the lace effect becomes luxurious fur, and other times, it is used to replicate the effect of scales. “I find inspiration anywhere,” Cabral adds. “If something has the potential to be clever and if something is puzzling, it will eventually creep into my work.”
Scroll down to check out more of Cabral’s animal sculptures, and see what he's up to next by following the artist on Instagram.