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Calder Greenwood: LA's cardboard artist




Artist Calder Greenwood (left) and A Martinez (right) pose with the top half of 12 foot cardboard Ivan Drago.
Artist Calder Greenwood (left) and A Martinez (right) pose with the top half of 12 foot cardboard Ivan Drago.
Artist Calder Greenwood (left) and A Martinez (right) pose with the top half of 12 foot cardboard Ivan Drago.
Close up of cardboard Ivan Drago.
Artist Calder Greenwood (left) and A Martinez (right) pose with the top half of 12 foot cardboard Ivan Drago.
Standing at 12 feet, the cardboard Nicholas Cage is modeled after the actors role in "Con Air".
Artist Calder Greenwood (left) and A Martinez (right) pose with the top half of 12 foot cardboard Ivan Drago.
A wolf arm and tentacle at artist Calder Greenwood's downtown L.A. studio.
Lori Galarreta/KPCC
Artist Calder Greenwood (left) and A Martinez (right) pose with the top half of 12 foot cardboard Ivan Drago.
Cardboard skull at L.A. artist Calder Greenwood's studio.
Lori Galarreta/KPCC
Artist Calder Greenwood (left) and A Martinez (right) pose with the top half of 12 foot cardboard Ivan Drago.
Modeled after Japanese sleeping pods, these are also entirely made of cardboard.
Lori Galarreta/KPCC
Artist Calder Greenwood (left) and A Martinez (right) pose with the top half of 12 foot cardboard Ivan Drago.
Lifesize Japanese train made out of cardboard.
Artist Calder Greenwood (left) and A Martinez (right) pose with the top half of 12 foot cardboard Ivan Drago.
A cardboard shark hangs from the ceiling at the entrance of Calder's rad pad.
Lori Galarreta/KPCC
Artist Calder Greenwood (left) and A Martinez (right) pose with the top half of 12 foot cardboard Ivan Drago.
Calder Greenwood also likes collecting antique technology, he puts them together to make old consoles.
Lori Galarreta/KPCC
Artist Calder Greenwood (left) and A Martinez (right) pose with the top half of 12 foot cardboard Ivan Drago.
12 foot cardboard Frankenstein monster at the entrance of Calder Greenwood's studio.
Lori Galarreta/KPCC


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Creativity is everywhere in Los Angeles, from screenwriters hanging out in coffee shops to giant works of art on the sides of buildings.

However, art comes in many mediums which means you can get creative with just about anything including the often overlooked: cardboard.

A Martinez went to downtown L.A. to visit one artist who has been making all kinds of creations with the toughened paper, Calder Greenwood. 

His place is known as 'Calder's rad pad' and it's filled with eclectic pieces of art he's worked on over the past five years.

He began by explaining:

Why cardboard?

"Cardboard is a medium, I guess it's something that I've always had access to because generally everyone has a cardboard box somewhere, whether it be a cereal box or a file box. So, for me it was a natural medium just to start using because it was otherwise going to be trash. So, I just started playing with it, bending it, painting on it like a lot of kids do. Lot of kids play with boxes they make them flying spaceships...halloween costumes and I just kept playing with it."

On what he sees in cardboard:

"There's a scene in the movie WALL-E, if you've seen it, where he finds a box and opens it and there's a ring inside and he throws the ring out and keeps the box. And that's my mentality as well. Where I walk around and see a great box and I'll empty what's inside of it out and keep the box and throw it on the roof of my car and drive home. And people assume that whatever I've got is in the box. I'm like no, it's the box, the treasure is the box."

 On the mission behind his art:

"...I love the idea that the simple act of putting a wizard or a spider or a deer out in a natural habitat like this where it doesn't belong and having people react to it that it gets their attention, that's all I really ask for. They're very conscious of the fact that the world is a little different. I think that's the whole point is that if you can engage someone on their way to work and it's their nine to five and day in day out is the same thing and you can change it that day I think you've achieved something great. And I'd encourage people to  try to pursue that change, it's a very small act of changing things but it's a very easy first step."

Click through the slideshow above to see some of Calder's creations and you can check out more of his art and 'rad pad' here.

To hear the full interview, press the blue play button above.