Posted by: Kath Usitalo | March 22, 2010

Cardboard Bird Is The Word

Artist TJ and his recycled cardboard bird and house; it's kind of tough to capture it in a photo because it's suspended from the high ceiling

Ask anyone who has seen our circa 1941 bungalow: even with the space we added on when we moved in about 25 years ago, it was never intended to multi-task as a home/office/studio/classic car warehouse.

We’ve got two separate computer stations/workspaces upstairs plus the lower level archives (aka the basement), which serves as storage for brochure and photo files and tons of art supplies. It’s part utility room, woodworking shop, and crowded art studio. Over the last few months TJ the Artist had been squirreling away stacks—I mean 4-foot towers—of cardboard. I haven’t seen the TV show Hoarders, but I’m thinking we might be a candidate (maybe that’s why I’m afraid to watch it).

This kid seemed to really be analyzing TJ's creation

The cardboard emerged as a giant bird and birdhouse, just in time to answer the Grosse Pointe Art Center‘s call for entries in The Green Show, which asked for interpretations of “green,” whether in color, environment, or theme. TJ’s two-part “Cardboard Canary and Birdhouse” was accepted and will be on exhibit until May 1. This is the second time he’s entered and been accepted in one of the GPAC shows; the first time he sold his entry. Way to go TJ!

The only downside of this success: It might encourage him to continue to collect and stash more scrap cardboard in our basement. Ah, the price we pay for art.

At Friday evening’s opening of The Green Show we saw Paige’s ballet teacher and her family; her husband also had a really cool painting in the show.

Stop by if you’re in the neighborhood!

Most people expressed amusement at TJ's work, and that's a good thing

Grosse Pointe Art Center, located in the neighborhood's main vein of activity called The Village



  1. Neat! Congratulations TJ and thanks for showing me that those stacks of stuff in my office are really not the junk my wife claims, but real art like McCartney’s Blackbird (and your cardboard one) waiting for the right moment to arise…!

  2. Absolutely, it’s all how you look at it (and what you do with it).

  3. Horray for TJ! Very cool bird! As for ‘hoarding’ things that may be of use some day? I prefer to call it my ‘treasure’….and everyone needs some treasure!

    • Treasures are the new “green” aren’t they?

  4. Congrats to TJ 🙂

    Well, much like Gary, my husband is going to appreciate this post tremendously. He seems to feel the need to “collect” all sorts of screws, nuts and bolts. I suppose an apology to my husband is in order since I have been known to call him a “nut and bolt hoarder”.

    • I can envision Gary’s stash as a cool work of art! Too bad I’m not an artist.

  5. Look at all the fun that was had! The joy of art is being in the moment.

    • Absolutely. Every moment (and crevice of our home 🙂 is filled with the joy of art!

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