Sample of a James Lake Sculpture

A video I discovered on Wired Magazine with James Lake, a cardboard sculpture artist from England, ignited some new creative ideas. He works exclusively in cardboard because of the material’s ease of availability and low environmental impact. It was mesmerizing to watch him build the armature out of the rolled and double corrugated card, engineering a solid undersupport. Then, he adds the outer layer of thinner chipboard pieces in small curvy shapes like cladding on a house. The result is magical. The small pieces of card remind me of the fluid brushstrokes from van Gogh paintings.

His work has truly inspired me, along with the fact that he has dyslexia and lost a leg to illness in his late teens. In learning about my dyslexia, visualizing 3-dimensional shapes and space are our strengths. Yet, there is a soul to James Lake’s work that reflects an understanding of human struggle and pain. He takes an everyday, forgotten material and transforms it – softening the hard straight edges into something with heartfelt meaning and substance.

Coincidently, this week I also learned of an upcoming call for artists at Studios on the Park for works that are “Reimagined” – artists are encouraged to use refurbished materials to create new pieces of artwork. I sensed a strong message from the Muse to attempt a sculpture from cardboard. My vague plan is to make an enlarged version of the skull template from Ultimate Paper Mache. Then build out the muscles and skin layers with cardboard and chipboard. One idea I want to try is to punch consumer packaging into circles with my AccuCut machine, then apply these in layers for the colorful skin part — the colors of the packaging as my color pallet. We shall see how much I can get my hands on. I’m open to allowing it to evolve as I go.