A few years ago I took a workshop from sculptor Scott Fife at the Pratt Fine Arts Center. The workshop’s focus was using ordinary corrugated cardboard as a sculpting medium by attaching sheets together with wood glue and wallboard nails. I wasn’t crazy about the idea of sculpting with cardboard, but I was a huge fan of Fife’s work, and I decided I was willing to give his medium a try just to learn a little about how he works.
I did, indeed, learn a lot about working in three dimensions, and using such an inexpensive, commonplace material gave us permission to be as experimental as we wanted to be. While some students created impressive figurative sculptures (one was of Amy Winehouse, the young vocalist who had recently died, and another was a large penguin-like bird), mine was more. . . shall we say “organic” and “freeform” (I’m being generous; see below). Ultimately, my sculpture ended up in the recycle bin (and thankfully, because it was made of cardboard, it could go in there instead of the trash bin), and I decided that working with cardboard was not really my thing. Nonetheless, my admiration for Scott Fife’s work continues.
For quite a while, one of my favorite Fife works, “LeRoy, the Big Pup,” commanded a large, soulful presence on the main floor of the Tacoma Art Museum. Eventually the piece moved to a permanent location on an upper floor, and the beloved piece is so popular that LeRoy has become a museum icon. After visiting the LeMay Car Museum, Greg and I went through TAM’s exhibits, and I stopped for a few minutes to sketch LeRoy, who stands more than 11 feet tall.
|At right and above are two views of my cardboard
sculpture, which eventually was recycled.