Zhongkai Xiang is an artist that uses one of the most ordinary mediums to create some extraordinary things. Like many youngsters his age, he is fascinated by dinosaurs, robots, monsters and animals, but what sets him apart is that he turns his interests into cardboard statues.
His artistic expression began many years ago when he used to simply draw, then in junior high school he evolved into making paper sculptures, and now in senior high school his main focus has become cardboard models. His most notable works include sculptures of horses, dragons, aliens and birds. Xiang has even installed an alien doorknocker on his front door.
Of course, sometimes the young artist uses other mediums to create his sculptures, like an alien sculpture made completely out of drinking straws. But Zhongkai’s favorite work is his dragon sculpture, which is also the first cardboard model he created. Other works include a model of Optimus Prime, Iron Man and skeletons of a T-Rex and Pterodactyl.
The life-size Iron Man suit is the star of Zhongkai’s collection, which was made possible by using a special paper-modelling technique called Pepakura. But he did not add any color to the final product, “Keeping the cardboard color and texture was deliberate. That’s my style.” He would work on the sculpture in his free time, and it took him a year to complete.
In an interview with the Stan Winston School of Character Arts, Zhongkai said, ” Tony Stark’s suit cost almost $1 billion. But mine cost almost ‘zero’. ” He said that art shouldn’t be expensive and that artists should create art with whatever materials they have at hand.