Featured Artist Sam Silberstein | Artsy Shark

Enjoy Sam Silberstein’s wildly creative and delightfully quirky portfolio of sculpture made of repurposed materials. Visit his website to see more.

Quirky repurposed object sculpture

“Bob the Queen” acrylic on repurposed cardboard and toothpicks, 12”h x 12”w x 9”d

I’ve been a visual artist for most of my life. I grew up in Mexico City where I was exposed to a rich visual culture. Mexican folklore, from toys to masks to fabrics, is filled with symbolism.

organic sculpture made from repurposed cardboard

“Cocoon Colony” acrylic on repurposed cardboard and wood beads, 19”w x 12”h x 8”d

I encountered vibrant colors and textures everywhere. And I delighted in exploring arts and crafts markets, flea markets, visiting remote villages and traveling the country always with a camera in hand.

Slug sculpture from repurposed materials

“Melvin the Speedy Slug” acrylic on repurposed cardboard, 17”w x 8”h

I documented craftsmen and their creations, market vendors and their produce, fabrics, foods, and stunning landscapes. I visited museums, studied art history and learned from established artists. All these elements served to inform my art practice. I have been creating and experimenting visually for almost 50 years.

Table built from repurposed cardboard

“Table 9” acrylic on repurposed cardboard, 15”w x 9”h

Fast forward to 2020. There we all were in the middle of a once-in-a-century pandemic, glued to the news and trying our best to adapt to the new normal. The interruption to the flow of our daily lives had no end in sight and it was best to deal with changing events just one day at a time. I sought relief in being outdoors and walking the neighborhood with my family.

abstract found object fish sculpture

“Accidental Fish” acrylic on repurposed cardboard and wood dowels, 29”w x 13”h x 3”d

It was then that I began to spot the sheer amount of cardboard (Amazon and grocery delivery boxes mostly) piling up in my neighbors’ driveways and recycling cans. I decided then that I needed to put that material to use. I used the cardboard as my canvas, cut it and joined it in various ways.

Amazon box sculpture

“Former Amazon Boxes” mixed media on repurposed cardboard, 60”h x variable widths up to 16”w

In keeping with the mood of the pandemic times, I began my cardboard journey by creating tapestries that somewhat resembled mandalas (elaborate designs conducive to contemplation and self-awareness).

upcycled sculpture

“Mandala 003” acrylic on repurposed cardboard and wire, 43”h x 17”w

I then turned to sculpture, drawing from my connection to my Mexican roots, to alebrijes, fantastical animalistic creatures native to Mexico, and  began creating my own.

Spider sculpture from repurposed cardboard

“Brandon the Octopus Spider” acrylic on repurposed cardboard, 15″h x 19” diameter + base

Today, about three years since the pandemic began, I have an increasingly growing collection of pieces which are all built from repurposed cardboard with many more on the way. This feature is but a sampling of what I have created to date.

Sam Silberstein invites you to follow him on Instagram.

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