Not bored of cardboard

Mark O'Brien, the cardboard artsit from Golborne
Mark O'Brien, the cardboard artsit from Golborne
Share this article

HIS materials may be deemed rubbish, but artist Mark O’Brien certainly doesn’t think so.

The 26-year-old from Golborne has spent thousands of hours creating sculptures ranging from a tray of biscuits to a full-size Mini Cooper –using material that is usually chucked out as used packaging.

Last year he created a number of window displays for Schuh in London’s Oxford Street, and back in 2012 he created London-themed sculptures for a shopping mall in Hong Kong to celebrate the Olympic games, which were previously held.

And now Mark is touring schools and shopping centres running workshops for children.

He said: I have become a lot more involved with schools over the last year and have been doing sculptures in the community with the Leigh Neighbours Project. I enjoy working with kids and getting them to make things by hand, rather than playing on computers.

“It is great to pass on my skills and maybe these youngsters can get a job out of it.”

Mark first experimented with cardboard craft when he was 17 while studying art at Winstanley College.

He made small props such as shoes, cameras and musical instruments and then continued creating items whilst at Leeds Metropolitan University as part of his foundation art degree.

He said: “I started using cardboard because the material was free and it was really good to work with.

“I love creating things by hand and I like seeing the little imperfections as it is a scruffy material. It’s packaging and something that you’d just throw away. It shouldn’t look perfect. I never worry about my pieces falling apart because cardboard is stronger than you think. I varnish the pieces before to give them extra protection.”

Once he had completed his degree he expanded his range and has his own studio in Ancoats, Manchester.

Mark said: “After uni, I was making cardboard shoes and selling them over the internet. I started getting requests from all over the place for different designs and an American graffiti artist bought some to use in an exhibition. I usually make iconic things like robots but when I have made more lifelike objects in the past I have made smaller versions as test pieces.”

His work can be seen at