More than likely, when you think of art, cardboard doesn’t come into play. However it is increasingly entering the spotlight with innovative approaches, 3D sculpture, and wholly usable and functioning furniture applications that is often art in itself. 100% biodegradable, compostable, reusable and upcyclable, corrugated board is easily repurposed and lends itself to amazing shapeability and unlimited vision. Forget the artistic greats like Monet and Picasso that you learned about in school, and take a look at what’s being presented these days.
Chile- Beautiful Mountains, Excellent Wine and Don Lucho
Don Lucho of Santiago, Chile, presents an interesting study in 3D cardboard sculpture with his life-sized, real-world portrayal of happenings like car crashes and downed planes. Powerful and intriguing, a cardboard car almost halved by a terrible ‘crash’ into a light pole is a sobering reminder to every driver to slow down. Lucho has also created an apartment out of cardboard and a black marker. The kitchen is complete with cardboard utensils, while cardboard shoes lay apparently kicked off beside the cardboard bed and nightstand. A cardboard toilet has black marker water scribbled in its bowl, while cardboard mugs and placemats are set neatly on the –you guessed it – cardboard table.
She Made What Out of Cardboard?
Sylvie Reno is a repurposed cardboard artist who works in life scale, creating impressive replicas of banks vaults, gun cabinets, knife displays, escalators and even cigarette packs complete with lighter. Every piece looks absolutely lifelike, but without the color to completely confuse the viewer. Reno fashions full-sized cars, heavy machinery, pipes and plumbing, all out of the amazingly versatile cardboard medium.
If Frida Kahlo Were Alive, What Would She Think?
With an eye for dizzying amounts of detail, the whimsical corrugated board sculptures of Ana Serrano never fail to capture the attention and stoke the fire of childhood fantasy in all who look on her work. Employing mixed media, cardboard, acrylic paint, and printed paper, the first generation Mexican-American is inspired by cultural context, and features an interest in low socio-economic climes, beliefs, and fashion. Serrano’s Cartonlandia is a colorful paradise and a feast for the eyes.
Windmills, Tulips, Wooden Shoes and Now Cardboard Artists
Inspired by lacy coral, leafy trees, and quite possibly vegetables from the produce aisle of your grocery store, Ferry Staverman, a Dutch artist living in Apeldoorn, beautifies the world around him with the forced 3D sculptures he creates with repurposed cardboard and string. By repeating a design numerous times, he is able to upcycle (take an object or material, and repurpose it into something more valuable) the corrugated board, paint it in washes of color, and display it like a gorgeous marine aquarium. Many of the pieces look like crowns, the tops of Russian cathedrals, or delicate snow castles, and are reminiscent of the paper honeycomb sculptures mom puts on her table for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
From Clay to Cardboard
Ann Weber is a very cool cardboard artist who tends to work in strips, rather than whole pieces, of cardboard. The effect is a not unlike a woven basket, or a wicker look that is organic and warm. Ann has worked with cardboard for some time now, and boasts an impressive portfolio of very large pieces. Originally a clay artist, Ann prefers the lightweight cardboard to the awkward process of clay. Inspired by Frank Gehry who introduced the first cardboard Wiggle chair in 1972, Ann took to corrugated in 1991 and presents metaphorical conundrums and everyday life experiences with her sculpture, often pushing the size in an attempt to expand the piece larger and larger before it collapses, a commentary on balancing acts humanity struggle with each day.
Making Bronze Art from Cardboard
Though a metallic sculptor at heart, Paul Orzech has solidified his artistic merit by thinking outside of the box and incorporating cardboard into his creative process. Operating out of Arizona, Orzech spices things up by first creating the sculpture he wants out of cardboard strips glued or stapled together. He then coats them before firing them in an oven, incinerating the cardboard underneath the coating. So while no actual cardboard remains, it serves as the basic element for some beautiful works of art that are quite unique by using unconventional structures for bronze.
Carboard’s the Name of the Game
Born in the U.K. in 1967, Johnathan Ro-Schofield or ‘Jonny Cardboard’ has been working as a cardboard artist for 20 years. His style involves the extremely delicate and detailed rendition of highly realistic pieces of furniture. Almost all of the works have been stained in such a way so as to appear carved from wood. The furniture often incorporate classical architectural touches, such as ornate arches. Looking as if they belong in a distinguished baron’s office, it is truly unbelievable that they’re carved from cardboard. Ro-Schofield’s amazing ability has earned him unmatched recognition in the world of cardboard artistry. Between 1988 and 2002, he held 22 exhibitions and was specifically commissioned for pieces at least 33 times by such prestigious institutions as the Guggenheim Museum and Tiffany & Co.
The Italian artist Peeta is perhaps the most expressionistic cardboard artist today. While using cardboard to recreate an everyday object certainly has an element of awe to it, Peeta chooses instead to sculpt masses of cardboard, PVC or any number of materials into tangled masses of soft curves and sharp angles. As different as these sculptures are, Peeta truly fears no material, even going so far as to sculpt pillows, starting with soft polyurethane and coating it with fabrics.