Nov 9, 2011

TREND | Cardboard Art

BIKES, Chris Gilmour, cardboard and glue, 2003

One of the arguably most underappreciated and simplest tool used today is the cardboard. Simple, reliable, and almost vital in some everyday situations cardboard has always been able to be relied on by its user. But a more growingly common use for the firm yet pliable material is art.


From sculptures to abstract art, cardboard is becomingly less and less uncommon to be found in an art gallery. Cardboard is essentially just thick paper of different thicknesses. It is this, the practicality of the material, and the simplicity of the subject that makes for astonishing art. Cardboard is not something that is commonly associated with art; more that of a homeless person’s resource or a tool to make moving and storing things easier. And it is this that awes a spectator that is looking at a piece of recyclable everyday material forged into a piece of beauty.

The first cardboard art show I saw was in Corpus Christi, Texas at the local art museum. It was a showing of art by an artist named Alex Uribe. Alex Uribe takes strictly recycled art and transforms it into his depiction of the female form. The quality of his work is breath taking, to know that this beautiful sculpture type piece of art is made from potentially a box that I myself threw in the trash. It is this uncommon use of a simple thing that brought in such large numbers to see these pieces of art.

Alex Uribe, Jodi, Cardboard

One artist that I found upon research of cardboard artists after seeing real cardboard in person for the first time was Sylvie Reno. Reno takes everyday cardboard and makes it into everyday objects such as escalators, guns, kitchen knives, and even bank vaults. But the precision done on the work makes it appear of that of being able to be placed next to the actual object it is being modeled after and there being little difference overall in appearance.

The interesting texture and curvature is what makes cardboard art especially interesting. Cardboard has firmness strong enough to hold its shape rather complacently, but flexible enough to mold into the shape the artist desires. That along with ironic fact that it is essentially “trash”, or at least expendable material, is what makes this form of art so compelling.

Another one of my more favorite cardboard artists is Chris Gilmour. Gilmour, like Reno, makes cardboard into geometrically accurate shapes of everyday objects. But Gilmour takes his art a step farther and makes the objects he is copying exact as it is in reality. In fact, his one piece of a fixed gear bicycle was so precise that there was even forty-eight cardboard spokes on the cardboard wheels, just as it is in real life. It is the way how one can use cardboard to mock an object down to its last detail or to make riveting piece of abstract art that makes it absolutely fascinating to me.


Kalashnikov, Sylvie Reno, 2005. corrugated cardboard





Cardboard art is a growing art form and will continue to have a growing fan base as the interest in contemporary and new styled art grows. It is the use of cardboard to create something amazing that drives one to try and be as creative as possible with their own tools, and search for new things to use to transform into an art trend for the future.

- John Wolfe

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