James Lake

Creating with Cardboard

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.

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.

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.

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.

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).

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.

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