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


Affiliation with Shape: Shape Open. 'Sitting without Purpose' is part of the Shape Collection.

Artist Statement 

James Lake been working with cardboard as a medium of choice for the last 10 to 15 years. It is lightweight, strong, can be manipulated, adapted, 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, common place and recyclable material.

James Lake Butler 2015 cardboard sculpture

'Butler' (2015) Cardboard Sculpture 


When Lake first took up sculpture properly he was at home 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 my art work accessible to a wider audience. Ingrained in my 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.

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.

Upcoming exhibitions opportunities or arts events?

Imagination Exeter Autumn 2016 - Literacy and Imagination Festival.
'Inspiring Spaces' Autumn 2016