Banner Image: James Lake 'Sitting Without Purpose' (1998)


Affiliation with Shape: Exhibiting artist in the Shape Open exhibition across the years and featured in our Shape Gallery, 1 January - 31 December 2013. His work 'Sitting Without Purpose' is part of our Shape Collection.

Artist Statement 

James Lake has been working with cardboard as a medium for the last 10 to 15 years. It is lightweight, strong, can be manipulated and adapted easily, and can be used to sculpt beyond traditional materials without the need of an arts studio. The end result is the fine crafting of an inexpensive, commonplace and recyclable material.

James Lake Butler 2015 cardboard sculpture

                                                 'Butler' (2015); Cardboard Sculpture 

When Lake first took up sculpture properly he was unemployed and not in education, and built a sculpture called 'Sitting Without Purpose'. It represents his father; knowing he was going to be made redundant fairly soon, just sitting there. Lake spent a good three months working on it. Lake had limited training in that process, but had a lot of time on his hands. 'Sitting Without Purpose' has a real intensity to it; so much passion was put into that work. 

When giving presentation’s Lake use various examples of his work to present the possible. Lake shared a vision that is based in adaption and innovation. It is work that is to be touched and interacted with, anyone can attempt to produce similar work. The ethos of Lake’s art production is to inspire and make accessible 3D art processes. This is encompassed within his figurative and portraiture work, whereby explores the ideas of humanity, strength, fragility and resilience through the materials and the subject matter.

James Lake - Home (Side by side image)

                         'Home' (2016); Cardboard Sculpture 

By using a utilitarian material Lake is able to make his art work accessible to a wider audience. Ingrained in his process is the desire to teach and demonstrate this working method so that regardless of status or ability others can access a way of realising ideas into a three dimensional form. Lake continues to practice in schools and community projects. His work often focusses on sustainability and recycling, as is clear with his choice of medium; this is explored in the below video on his work, created by Greenlight Digital for packaging company Rajapack - "The Art of Recycling":

James Lake’s more recent works have included commissions for Hotel Gotham, Manchester. This involved creating two life size figurative pieces; 1920s style Butler and Bellboy. Lake have also been involved in the Rugby World Cup closing ceremony celebrations with Walk the Plank; he created a 6 metre high cardboard totem pole which was painted by Candida Boyes and her team.

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