Sculptures are one of the oldest forms of art, dating back to ancient times when civilizations would honor gods and leaders with their likenesses carved in stone.
Today, sculptures can be crafted from a variety of mediums, and artist Felix Semper has changed the game with his stretchy paper creations.
His works may appear solid from a distance but watch as he grabs one. You may think he's trying to pick up a heavy piece of sculpted rock, but the sculpture transforms before your eyes.
Semper was born in Cuba, then moved to Spain as a child. He moved to U.S. years later and now has a studio in North Carolina. But he hasn't always been an artist.
Semper tells MNN he built homes for years before the housing crisis hit in 2008. Then, he decided to pursue art, a passion he had when he was younger. He started by painting and drawing. Then one snowy day, he carved a "sculpture" out of snow. From there, he was inspired to make sculpture his art.
"As I taught myself to make sculptures, I soon realized that if I was going to be successful at this I have to be myself and totally different than what is out there," Semper says. "So, I started gluing sheets of paper together into a solid block and I carved it. It took me about a year to create the movable part of the sculpture."
Since then, all his sculptures have been optical illusions that can stretch several feet long.
Semper says the process begins by gluing sheets of paper together then carving, shaping, sanding and painting the sculpture into either a bust or an inanimate object. The process can take anywhere from several days to a few months, depending on the size.
Semper says the most difficult part is getting it right the first time. "If you don’t then you have just lost all those papers, so I am patient and very observant."
While Semper is currently using paper for his sculptures, he is looking for other materials to use for his stretchy sculptures.
"I am always experimenting with new mediums and mixing mediums because I believe that there is nothing you can’t do. The only limits are the ones you set to yourself."