The Art of Cardboard

The Petaluma art scene couldn’t be more happening these days-what with Burning Man sculptures peeking above fencelines and vibrant murals showing up on building facades overnight. At Field Sonoma, we love the art taking place in our midst, and recently visited the studios of Michael Garlington. Michael is a Petaluma-based photographer, Burning Man sculptural contributor and self-proclaimed cardboard artist – not necessarily in that order.

At the moment, it’s the third thing, and we found his studio, usually filled with Burning Man build items, instead filled with little scraps of cardboard. We’ve seen his cardboard creations before — he began creating them out of necessity as props for his photos. But seemingly unsatisfied with life in the background, these cardboard creations have taken on a standalone life of their own. He doesn’t give them names or titles, as to him they are simply studies for future pieces.

When he first started building larger cardboard pieces he was working with fellow artist and builder Jonny Hirschmugl, who showed him the ins and outs and ups and downs of making structurally sound cardboard constructions. With the structural engineering success of some fairly large pieces of cardboard artwork, Michael is now starting to look at wood as a new medium for a next body of work.

The piece here is a commission for a Halloween art installation. Scales and feathers tend to be a reoccurring element in these structures.

“They are a fundamental building element in nature and offer a natural defense against the elements,” says Michael.

You can find out more about this artist and native Petaluman on his facebook page:

He is currently collaborating with Susan Sarandon on a fashion runway show, possibly in NY, where the dresses are all made of cardboard.