Los Angeles-based Kiel Johnson has created suits, miniature cityscapes, and cameras with cardboard. Yet, one of his most recent sculptures emulates something even more unexpected: an aircraft. Johnson was featured way back in Hi-Fructose Vol. 14, and in 2013, we featured his crowdsourced cardboard robots.
Johnson’s piece is part of the exhibit “Pulped Fictions” at Torrance Art Museum in California. The exhibited, curated by Max Presneill, features 13 artists that use the material and grasp its “amazing malleability,” the museum says. A look inside the cockpit reveals humorous and personalized details, from a “Panic” button and flask to a cellphone and opened drink. Other artists featured include Libby Black, DOSSHAUS, EVOL, Scott Fife, Chris Gilmour, Taro Hattori, Manfred Muller, Michael Stutz, and others.
Johnson’s also involved in a project at NASA’s Space Center Houston. In the project, “The Space Center Star Fleet,” Johnson invites anyone to come build a star fleet with him. He started off with 30 ships.
There’s a child-like sensibility to some of Johnson’s work, both an ode to imagination and the importance of narrative: “An unstoppable force keeps me in the constant act of making without end to the journey,” Kiel says, in a statement on his site. “I am captivated by the transformation of material into a visual language. Approaching life with a heightened level of inquisitiveness and a playful mind, I continue to source new forms of communication.