Hoke transforms trash into treasure

Date: 5/1/2012

April 30, 2012

By G. Michael Dobbs


SPRINGFIELD — Where some people might see objects for the recycling bin, Lisa Hoke sees the building blocks of sculpture.

Hoke was on her knees in the community gallery of the D'Amour Museum of Fine Arts last week. She was also on ladders and standing. Her work was creating paper and cardboard sculptures that will adorn the walls of the community gallery for the next year.

Taking a close look at any of the pieces so far — Hoke calls them "installations" — and one can see a variety of printed cardboard boxes either flattened or cut or semi-assembled.

A New Yorker, Hoke said that she buys items such as paper plates in bulk on eBay and is always collecting items. Even her building's superintendent sifts through recycling for her.

Packaging fascinates her to the extent that she called it "intoxicating."

"I'm keenly aware of how they [designers] use color and light to catch our attention," she said.

On one wall, Hoke had constructed a spray of empty popcorn boxes.

She had a piece of green cardboard in one hand and a glue gun in the other. She looks at the large three-dimensional paper and cardboard sculpture on the wall before her and places the new piece in the appropriate spot.

She explained that she first constructs modules that she then assembles on a wall. From there she begins to add items.

As a sculptor, she said her favorite medium is "Kleenex boxes."

She started using packaging when she read her horoscope and it instructed her "to make soup." She interpreted the message in an artistic way and started a project using everything she could in her studio.

Her installations will be completed by May 1.

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