Creating with Cardboard: James Lake

This week’s blog post is from James Lake, who has been commissioned to make his unique cardboard sculptures for numerous projects and organisations, including Outside In’s Gold Run project, which celebrated the Paralympic Games. Below, James talks about his inspiration and process and how his artistic career has developed over the years.

James Lake, Hands

James Lake, Hands

I first started making art when I was a student, but became more involved about 15 years ago. I’ve been a self-employed freelance artist for about 5 years. My first major sculpture was ‘Sitting without Purpose’, which was a sculpture based on my dad.

James Lake, Met Office Map

James Lake, Met Office Map

My influences are based on accessibility of materials and working methods. I employ methods that enable me to create large scale pieces without the need of a studio environment. This way of working also supports my work with others; breaking down potential barriers, whether financial or educational, to create large scale sculptures.

James Lake, Bellboy

James Lake, Bellboy

I start with by drawing on cardboard, and then transform 2D to 3D by a process of finding key shapes/elements that can be constructed or layered, using hot melt glue to secure in place. Finally, I carve the finer details using a scalpel to cut away at the card.

James Lake, Butler

James Lake, Butler

I first became involved with Outside In when I contributed to an open exhibition some years ago. I then worked with outside in on the Gold Run project to celebrate the Paralympic games.

James Lake, Head for Gold Run

James Lake, Head for Gold Run

Since 2007 I have taken part in the Gold Run project as well as a variety of indoor and outdoor commissions, such as a garden mural project with Ceda, a large scale interactive weather map with Ceda and the Met office, the Rugby World Cup 5 Nations parade in Exeter with Walk the Plank Arts Company to create a 17ft cardboard totem pole (see images). I have undertaken a commission with a new hotel in Manchester to create two life size figurative pieces; a 1920s style butler and bellboy (see pics). In 2014 I took part in the Liberty Festival in London to commemorate the anniversary of the Paralympic games; creating 32 BSL hand sculptures (see pic).

James Lake, Sitting without Purpose

James Lake, Sitting without Purpose

I’m currently working on some school projects as a visiting artist. I hope to continue working on some commissioned pieces in the future and continue to work in schools sharing my practice and supporting others in creating large pieces from recycled cardboard.

Click here to see more of James’ work 

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