Artists are those daring individuals who try to make a living out of pushing boundaries and challenging—and hopefully changing—our tastes. In the artist’s endless process of borrowing, blending and creating, art and its respective mediums always evolve, adapting to the times and interests of their creators and viewers alike. Nowhere is this more evident than in sculpting. While materials such as marble remain favorites among sculpting traditionalists, many others use bizarre and innovative materials and have crafted true masterpieces with them.
At first glance, Li Hongbo’s artwork appears to be made out of traditional materials such as marble or porcelain. However, when the artist gets a hold of his solid structure, he begins to stretch the piece in uncanny and bizarre ways. It leaves the brain confused over what exactly it is seeing. One of sculpture’s defining features is that it, like a rock, remains superficially unchanged over time, right?
Not so for Hongbo. It takes a while to realize that each sculpture is actually made out of paper – thousands and thousands of layers of paper modeled to look like a bust or a vase. Hongbo used his passion for books and his past life as a book editor as inspiration for finding a dynamic and playful purpose for this very old—and occasionally considered lifeless—medium.
Nontraditional Sculptures: LEGOs
In spite of its juvenile associations, LEGO is arguably one of the most inspirational materials an artist could use. Most of us have played with LEGOs at one point or another and, whether we realize it or not, we are using our imagination to create something new and interesting each time.
Some people take this concept one step further. The most notable of the bunch is Nathan Sawaya, a New York-based sculptor who specializes in LEGO bricks. To make the sculpture as realistic as possible, Sawaya goes to great lengths and uses hundreds of thousands of LEGO pieces in each sculpture.
Among his most impressive achievements is a 20-foot long T.Rex skeleton. When he isn’t working on his original creations, Sawaya recreates some of the most famous artworks of all time using LEGO bricks.