back in the early 90’s nic & sloy began dumpster diving. we’d take our big green 78 ford econoline van, boldly lettered nicholsloy studio, out at dusk and case the back alley dumpsters. we were cherry picking for colorful cardboard from booze or other vividly colored dismantled boxes. free art materials. we felt furtive & more than a little foolish but we persisted. here is the story or how nic came to creating art using this most common of materials.
ouch, 7 x 5 1/4 x 1 1/8″, 2.21.91
at first nic made free standing cacti & other small exploratory forms. above is ouch. it is a two sided free standing silhouette of a nude. at one time we had 18 or 20 such cardboard cutouts of nudes, each unique. we displayed them as friezes on shelves above our studio windows. only ouch remains because sloy (that’s me) kept it for herself.
x box, 3.12.1993
x box has a companion piece y box. nic’s largest pieces reclaimed from dumpster diving. if you look closely you will see that the scalloped & zigzagged tops of the X come off and open up hidden drawers to the inside. another hidden drawer can be found in the blue leg, that red curving form on the left side. all the inner sides of the hidden boxes he finished with poetic & colorful cuts from cardboard graphics in our collection.
murder hat & hat box, 12.2.02 (dimensions unavailable)
yes murder hat can be worn. it once resided in the ruth & marvin sackner archive of concrete & visual poetry in miami beach, florida. marvin would don it when visitors came to see the archive. nic began to use the covers of cheesy paperbacks we would find in thrift shops. both the insides and outsides of the hat and hat box & lid sport linings. after ruth died marvin found a permanent home for the sackner archive now in the permanent collection of the university of iowa library.
don’s guitar, cardboard, silk string & metal rod, 28 1/4 x 9 1/2 x 1 3/4″, 9.13.2007
a romantic story. don’s wife wendy sneaked the cardboard from the original packing box don’s newest axe arrived in to our studio & commissioned nic to make something from it for don’s birthday. nic created this cardboard guitar reminiscent of don’s actual new guitar. he made a guitar packing case for it, also out of the packing box. don’s guitar was exhibited in the hallie ford museum of art’s side by side show of nic’s & sloy’s art in 2017-2018.
side by side, 60 x 36 x 14 1/2″, 2017
no longer dumpster diving nic begins buying sheets of cardboard meant to be used for packing from big box stores. an evolution in the use of cardboard for art emerged from using these ubiquitous & inexpensive materials. from them came a great many painted & sculpted cardboard wall hangings, vases of flowers, art boxes, inlaid cardboard mail art & small sculptures.
for two years we rented a downtown studio that allowed nic to work large & in those years he designed and sculpted cardboard into side by side, out of 4 x 8 feet cardboard sheets. side by side became the name piece for our museum show.
side by side, seen here in the hallie ford museum of art, now resides in the museum’s permanent collection.
thirty seven years, 13 1/2 x 9 1/2 x 4″, 2.15.2018.
not your usual pretty bouquet. made from various cherished vintage paperbacks in our library. sloy taught world lit for 10 years, but the vase’s paperback homer’s covers reach back to the early 60’s before she knew nic. before she knew one day she’d be so lucky & regale students with her favorite stories from homer’s, the illiad & the odyssey.
the other side. each flower stem can be plucked from the vase. & that rippled & layered base, made from black & white picasso illustrations, is also removable. underneath in pencil nic’s inscription , “for my soulmate sandy zettle aka sloy xoxoxo nic.”
nicholsloy studio table of maquettes (small cardboard sculptures meant as scale models for large sculptures)
here is a work table in our studio with some of nic’s latest cardboard work. not every piece is there, but each one sketched and sculpted with a dream of fabrication in mind. o where o where is our fabricator? below a few up close to bring to an end this post.
out of round, 20 x 13 1/2 x 7 3/4″, 5.31.2020
XX-XY, 13 1/4 x 17x 7 1/8″, 6.22.20
cross course, 24 x 15 1/2 x 5 1/8″, 7.28.2020
counting on reason, 15 3/4 x 16 3/4 x 17 1/4″, 8.8.20
we imagine this piece fabricated large scale in cor-ten steel, which naturally rusts to a color somewhat akin to this. as you can see above it changes shape depending upon which side is being viewed. however, it is lovely as it stands, as are the others, brought to life in humble cardboard.
thanks for looking.
sloy & nic