I am a total nerd because I love to watch PBS, I love their animal shows to news programs. A couple of months ago I watched a very inspiring and intriguing show about the artist, James Grashow. You would probably recognize his artwork from the cover of The New York Times. He designed many of their covers and art for articles with wood block prints over the years. Along with his wood block prints he has work with paper in all kinds of ways, from giant paper mache statues to a jungle full of cardboard monkeys. He is obsessed with the fact that paper and cardboard are throw way items. Not thought of as materials for great works of art.
Most of his newest artwork is making everything out of cardboard. He was invited to Italy to give a class in sculpture. He wanted to make a grand fountain inspired by Gian Lorenzo Bernini. Although, he was not able to make the trip to Italy he did design and build a Baroque water fountain that any city would be proud to have in its city square. It took Grashow 3 years to complete the fountain. It was amazing to watch him work in what looked like a bad packing scene to create cardboard that curves into nymphs riding sea horses in a spray of ocean water.
After creating thousands of pieces of artwork, Grashow is also interested in the idea of how long is art art? Is there a limit to the time it should exist? After displaying his fountain for several months he set it outside to see how long the weather and nature would take to reclaim it.
I was amazed how he could take something as flat as a piece of a cardboard and turn it into a living creature. A little hot glue, tape and cardboard made a thing of beauty. His patience and skill level are amazing. It encouraged me to think about making more art myself and not worry about my materials.