We’ve seen the intricate cars, engines, bicycles and other machinations of civilization created out of cardboard by artist Chris Gilmour: bafflingly accurate and detailed for the imprecise medium. Artist Mark Langan, in contrast, creates sculptural works that are inspired by the form of cardboard itself, celebrating its grooves and textures. This work demands a kind of respect and awe for its material, which the artist collects from his own neighborhood.

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Langan dos not use any computer rendering to visualize a project: he sketches it the old-fashioned way, by drawing it out on a piece of paper. Each piece is built through a process of cutting, layering, and sealing with a non-toxic glue. For a more sculptural texture, the artist will run his cardboard through a paper-shredder and make it into a putty with glue and water.

A completely self-taught artist, Langan dedicated himself full-time to his corrugated masterpieces after being laid off from an office job. Some of the pieces are more overt proponents of the green lifestyle than others: one pieces says “Waste: it’s what haste makes” while in another, Uncle Sam declares “I want YOU to recycle” (above). Most of the works, however, are elegantly trimmed celebrations of a cast-off material. It’s the grown-up version of playing with cardboard boxes.

+ Mark Langan