Office Supply Art

When you spend most of the day surrounded by office supplies, it's easy to overlook them. Pencils and paper clips can easily remain unnoticed until they happen to go missing when you need them most. One of the defining characteristics of a true artist is being able to make the most out of available resources, no matter how limited those resources might be. The artists we look at here took the abundant supplies they saw every day and turned them into stunning works.

Paper Flame

With the advent of digital tools in the workplace, many prominent businesses have taken steps to make their offices as paper-free as possible. This is often done to expedite the exchange of files, as well as promote the company as having "gone green." Still, many companies are unable to afford making the switch to being completely digital. Paper remains an important element in modern business.

man holding flame to painting
Image via Buzzfeed.

Stephen Spazuk began incorporating fire into his art in 2001. To create the initial primer images, he uses carefully controlled flames—usually with methane candles—on acid-free paper. He then completes the images with light brushes or pencils before spraying the final image with varnish to preserve the flame's soot. Says Spazuk, "When I put the flame to paper, I don't know what I'm going to get, and that's the pure joy of working with soot."

Message Received

Post-It notes are one of the most ubiquitous office supplies. They offer a fine way to remind oneself or others of work that needs to be done. With their bright color scheme and adhesiveness, it's easy to see why they're often used by artists as a means of self-expression in an otherwise mundane office setting. That's the sort of inspiration that struck a Japanese architect in 2001.

colorful building made of Post-Its
Image via mental_floss.

Yo Shimada had a point he wanted to make about structural integrity, so he decided to use Post-It notes as paper building blocks for a construction demonstration. With the help of students from the Kyoto University of Art and Design, Shimada spent three days turning more than thirty thousand Post-Its into a carefully constructed "brick" wall. Though the wall has long since come down, images of it continue to be popular among architects and casual viewers alike.

Office Ink

Office buildings frequently vary in shape and structure, but not often in color. Since the materials used—brick, mortar, metal, glass—don't generally lend themselves to eclectic color schemes, one rarely sees the equivalent of a Lisa Frank design on a building's exterior. Nevertheless, one Southern California business has used the illusion of an artistic faux pas on its building as one of the business's defining traits.

mural titled Technicolor Ooze
Image via designboom.

Artist Jen Stark was given carte blanche when she was commissioned to design the exterior artwork for Platform, a business hub in Culver City, CA. Representatives of the building wanted something that would stand out from all the surrounding buildings, and knew that the Los Angeles-based artist would do just that. Stark's mural, dubbed "Technicolor Ooze," is a carefully designed image that gives the illusion of various colors of paint dripping down the side of the Platform building. Although it may appear to be a work gone horribly wrong, the mural has become the calling card for Platform's standing out from the competition.

Memorandum

Just because worker efficiency is coveted in an office environment doesn't mean creativity should be discouraged. The average workday provides plenty of opportunities to express yourself artistically if you know where to look and don't ignore your responsibilities. Let productivity be the goal, and creativity be the reward.

Child's Play: New Printing and Design Tools

Scientists the world over agree that encouraging the creative tendencies of children is not only helpful to their overall intelligence, but crucial to their mental development. There’s also a lot of fun to be had in playtime activities such as assembling blocks, drawing pictures, and playing on jungle gyms.

While such playtime activities are encouraged during childhood, they're generally expected to be given up by adulthood. But if childhood games can stimulate the brain of a young person, who’s to say they wouldn't work on people who’ve become set in their ways? Several of the world’s most prominent behavioral therapists have asked that very question.

Fine Line

Coloring books have been a staple of children’s playtime for over a century, and their popularity shows no signs of waning. A typical volume consists of vector-like black-and-white images, with color added by the user. Recently, this “childish” past time has seen an increase in popularity among adults as a calming activity for their increasingly stressful lives.

adult coloring book design
Image via The Atlantic.

In a recent piece for The Atlantic, writer Julie Beck argues that, although this appears to fall into the recent trend of adults' recreating childhood activities, coloring is in fact a form of art therapy. “There's something satisfying about seeing your thought and effort create a tangible, pretty thing at a reasonable, predictable pace,” says Beck. “This rarely happens in life.” Beck reports that the technique has proved useful for her in dealing with the pressures of everyday life, and believes it could for many others.

Baby’s First Design Kit

In an increasingly digitized world, it’s easy for both children and parents to look at modern technology as nothing more than an easy distraction for the little ones so that parents can steal a few moments for themselves. But this hasn’t stopped many innovators from using technological tools to teach children practical skills.

can-do children's products
Image via Mental Floss.

Khandu (pronounced “Can Do”) is a forthcoming game created by the Spanish design agency Seven Thinkers. The goal of the card game is to teach children how to think like designers, getting them to come up with and implement ideas. Although the game is currently only available through Seven Thinkers’ Kickstarter campaign, the creators are hoping to have it accepted as part of Pope Francis’s Scholas Occurentas program.

Repeating Patterns

No matter what one’s age, it’s important to have a creative outlet in one's life. The stories above show that age need not decide how one's creativity is expressed. Whether you're an eight-year-old or an eighty-year-old, you should feel free to take a little time out of each day to color the world your own way.

Crazy Cardboard Crafts for Kids

Have you ever had to watch after a child? If you have, then you know that even if you aren’t a parent, it’s a challenge to keep them occupied for very long. They seem to have unlimited supplies of energy, their small size allows them to get into areas you can’t, and the more of them you have around, the more exhausted you’ll be by the end of the day.

Fortunately for you, a child’s energy is matched only by their curiosity. It can be tempting to simply drop them in front of some electronic device or another to keep them distracted. But with a child’s developmental years being the most crucial, this is an opportunity for parents and guardians to help children channel their curiosity into creativity.

If you’re worried about not being able to afford the latest hot toys, don’t worry: here are a few craft projects that can be done with something you probably have all around the house. These projects will teach your children not only how to use their imaginations, but also how to make the most use out of discarded materials. All it takes is a little cardboard.

Ringing Endorsement

It’s easy for a kid to look at their parents’ shiny baubles and want to try them on. It makes them feel grown up and fancy. It also might be expensive, so a parent isn’t likely to just let a kid go through their jewelry box at their leisure. Luckily, there’s a way for kids to get fancy without you getting expensive. Try making cardboard rings.

All it takes is a collection of thin cardboard (cereal boxes will work just fine), scissors to cut them with, paint, brushes, a hot glue gun, and a marker. You and the kids can design them in whatever shapes come to mind, then show them off to everyone you know.

PBS-cardboard-rings.jpeg
(via PBS.org)

Tall Wall

Once you have kids, doesn’t it seem as if you’ve suddenly wound up with enough toilet paper rolls to reach the roof? Well, now you can do that by making your own stackers.

You can use the empty rolls from toilet paper or paper towels. The only supplies you’ll need are scissors, paint, and paintbrushes. Once again, the design is whatever your child can imagine. Paint the rolls as bright as you want and stack them as high as they can go. Just be sure not to let your kids try to climb it.

PBS-tall-wall.jpg
(via PBS.org)

Very Fine House

Rings and walls are nice, but what if your child is looking to build a home all their own? They might want to take a shot at building the cardboard neighborhood.

Once again, you’ll need cereal boxes and a hot glue gun. You’ll also need a pencil, paint, a ruler, string, and scissors. Now your children can actually build the houses they go past every day.

cardboard-houses.jpg
(image via Rudy and the Dodo)

Crazy Cardboard Crafts for Kids

Have you ever had to watch after a child? If you have, then you know that even if you aren’t a parent, it’s a challenge to keep them occupied for very long. They seem to have unlimited supplies of energy, their small size allows them to get into areas you can’t, and the more of them you have around, the more exhausted you’ll be by the end of the day.

Fortunately for you, a child’s energy is matched only by their curiosity. It can be tempting to simply drop them in front of some electronic device or another to keep them distracted. But with a child’s developmental years being the most crucial, this is an opportunity for parents and guardians to help children channel their curiosity into creativity.

If you’re worried about not being able to afford the latest hot toys, don’t worry: here are a few craft projects that can be done with something you probably have all around the house. These projects will teach your children not only how to use their imaginations, but also how to make the most use out of discarded materials. All it takes is a little cardboard.

Ringing Endorsement

It’s easy for a kid to look at their parents’ shiny baubles and want to try them on. It makes them feel grown up and fancy. It also might be expensive, so a parent isn’t likely to just let a kid go through their jewelry box at their leisure. Luckily, there’s a way for kids to get fancy without you getting expensive. Try making cardboard rings.

All it takes is a collection of thin cardboard (cereal boxes will work just fine), scissors to cut them with, paint, brushes, a hot glue gun, and a marker. You and the kids can design them in whatever shapes come to mind, then show them off to everyone you know.

PBS-cardboard-rings.jpeg
(via PBS.org)

Tall Wall

Once you have kids, doesn’t it seem as if you’ve suddenly wound up with enough toilet paper rolls to reach the roof? Well, now you can do that by making your own stackers.

You can use the empty rolls from toilet paper or paper towels. The only supplies you’ll need are scissors, paint, and paintbrushes. Once again, the design is whatever your child can imagine. Paint the rolls as bright as you want and stack them as high as they can go. Just be sure not to let your kids try to climb it.

Very Fine House

Rings and walls are nice, but what if your child is looking to build a home all their own? They might want to take a shot at building the cardboard neighborhood.

Once again, you’ll need cereal boxes and a hot glue gun. You’ll also need a pencil, paint, a ruler, string, and scissors. Now your children can actually build the houses they go past every day.

cardboard-houses.jpg
(image via Rudy and the Dodo)

DIY Gift Ideas For Father's Day

With Father's Day just over two weeks away, now is the time to start making the perfect gift to surprise dad. He might like golf clubs, grilling equipment, or some new ink cartridges for his printer, but nothing says "I love you" quite like a homemade gift. After suggesting gift ideas for Mother's Day, we knew Father's Day was a perfect occasion to get those creative juices flowing again! Here are a few ideas that any dad is sure to appreciate. More...

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