Sunday, July 26, 2015

The Cardboard Art Festival is bigger than ever.

The Daily City 3rd Annual Cardboard Art Festival moves from the Mills/50 Orange Studio to a retail storefront South of Downtown Orlando (SODO). It is in the Sodo Shopping Center, at 45 W. Crystal Lake Street, store #117, Orlando, FL on the same side as TJ Maxx, across from Gator's Dockside which just opened this past Wednesday. I went to sketch the media preview event and immediately decided to sit below Doug Rhodehamel's huge cardboard submarine. A blue wave animated bulb illuminated the $4,000 sub which was accompanied by a small school of $40 to $60 deep sea fish. One of the fish sold immediately and Doug asked me to help him get an orange (sold) sticker on the fish label. We both stretched diligently on tip toe to get the job done. Doug is about to start a series of cardboard sculptures of Star Wars space craft. He explained that the walker would be about 5 to 6 feet high so that it would be eye level. When I asked how big the cardboard Death Star would be, he said he would consider a collaboration with Planet Hollywood to re-make their globe.

Cardboard twin towers brought back memories of the horrific events of 9/11.  On the back wall, a huge cardboard mural by German Lemus showed a human heart surrounded by howling wolves, clenched fists, a ram and police in riot gear. I was sitting in front of paintings on cardboard of western landscapes by Timothy Thomas. He was born in Connecticut and raised in Maine where he studied film at Rockport College. He now lives in Orlando, FL with his wife Tina. Since I was painting, I kept being asked if I was the artist. First they would point at Timothy's work and when I said, "nope" they would assume I was Doug since I was sitting near his submarine. All of the cardboard props from this year's Fringe hit show, Robyn Da Hood: a Rap Musical were on display. You can pose in the golden carriage or on horse back. Artist Brendan O'Connor  who runs The Bungalower, struggled to lift the hammer of Thor.

I spoke with Banjo Bob who is best known for his hardboard T-Rex skulls.  He had some skulls on display, but even more impressive was a fully automated cardboard telescope he had created. He wrote a program for a cell phone that would allow a user to move the telescopes position. An image from the telescope was then visible on the phone. The program even allowed the telescope to automatically track a star. Since the earth is rotating the telescope would keep adjusting motors to keep the star in sight. He fabricated the cardboard parts at FACTURE  (520 Virginia Drive Orlando FL) a non-profit maker space here in Orlando. The collaborative space is part workshop, wood shop, metal working, crafts, and fabrication laboratory. I have to get over there to sketch. It sounds amazing.

Today, Sunday July 26 the daytime Cardboard Festival Gallery hours, with a suggested $5 donation, are from Noon-5pm. From 1-3pm Kids Fringe will host a Cardboard Matinee ($1 per kid). Kids aren't the only ones who get to play. There is an interactive cardboard creation corner where anyone can create a cardboard masterpiece.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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