Giraffes peering onto 5th Street in downtown LA.
"The Cardboard Artist" is a short documentary on Calder Greenwood, the artist who used Downtown Los Angeles as a set piece, often with co-conspirator Wild Life, for sculptures that were soft satire of the urban core. Angel's Knoll had life-size sitters and critters, and a giraffe once held court in an empty Arts District lot. The scale of the Los Angeles River made it a popular installation site, as seen with the Paper Mache Snake Plissken surfing the middle of the channel, or the 1950s Sci-Fi spider dangling from the Sixth Street Bridge.
Despite being very temporary, Greenwood's signature piece may be "Sunbathers" in a vast downtown pit (at 1st Street and Broadway) in May 2012. Officials abducted the life-size figures while photos of the papier-mâché squatters were still gaining social media traction.
The popularity of the works did not come from just social media savvy or daring placement. The pieces are a purer form of street art by reinterpreting space. "I didn't think at the time what we were doing was street art, it was really more about having this vision, and wanting to see it in real life, enough to put in the effort to actually make it," said Greenwood in a previous interview. "Because it's such a reward to see an idea realized. But yeah it is street art. It's very deliberately placed where it is."
In the ten-minute film, directed by Matthew Kaundart, Greenwood is philosophical about the meaning of his cardboard art's short life span.