Tricia Griffith

Cardboard Menagerie

Exhibit Location: McDade Gallery

Special Event:Meet the artist on Tuesday, June 4, 6-7pm.

Notes: Tricia's artwork is for sale. Please stop by the reference desk for more information.

About Tricia and Her Work

It was Christmas 2014, and the pile of cardboard boxes from ordering, sending, and receiving holiday gifts had gotten a little out of control. Tricia said to her husband, also an artist, “We need to get rid of these boxes or one of us needs to make art out of them-” Wait. Heyyy.

A couple of weeks and a big pile of shredded cardboard bits later, Tricia created her first three-dimensional art piece. The birch tree was made with layers of cardboard, using the corrugation of the cardboard to simulate tree bark texture. It was brightly painted with a deep blue-purple background and white bark, with the paper peeled off the cardboard cut and painted to create leaves.

From there, she created more than 50 individual pieces in varying shapes and sizes, including birds, mammals, sea life, plants, and more. Sometimes the texture of the cardboard inspires the art, other times she’s inspired by the nature around her, or an image of a particular wild critter. Several different dragons in differing styles and colors have popped up, but more often than not, her art is inspired by the natural world right here on Earth.

Her process usually starts with a few sketches of what she wants to create, then she rummages through her cardboard collection to see how big she might want to make it. The first layer is the largest, often the general size and shape of the finished piece.

Then, new layers are added in varying sizes, shapes, and thicknesses to create the three-dimensional effect. Once constructed, it receives a coat of white gesso primer. Then, the whole thing is painted in acrylic paints and coated with protective varnish. In recent years, other upcycled materials such as paper clay, bits of wire, or plastic have been added to pieces.

After years of experimenting, Tricia's art has become a celebration of nature, creativity and resourcefulness, turning cardboard scraps into vibrant animals and landscapes. With every piece of cardboard, bit of glue, or brushstroke, Tricia invites you to see the world with fresh eyes, finding beauty in the everyday and reminding us of the wonders all around us.

About Tricia

Tricia has been drawing since she was about five years old, spending her childhood coloring on the margins of books and coloring outside the lines. In school her notebooks were filled with more doodles than notes, and art was her favorite class. She credits her high school art & theater teachers for giving her confidence and encouraging her to explore her creativity.

After completing an associate’s degree in advertising and commercial art, she promptly went into the veterinary field. She continued to create, however, and has amassed a large collection of art ranging from fantasy to wildlife and nature. Over the years, her “real job” has changed, but creating art has remained a constant.

Since 2014, her work has mainly been focused on “upcycling” cardboard and other items to create art. She uses the medium to create three-dimensional works representing the natural world, from fungus to elephants, along with the occasional dragon because she can’t quite give up her love of fantasy creatures.

Tricia lives in Glenburn with her husband, two cats, a dog, and a large pile of cardboard.

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