Known for creating branding, packaging and artwork for high-end fashion and entertainment clients, Mark James is a London based designer and graphic artist. However, what his clients might not know is that he is also the genius behind the â€œ99% Is Shitâ€ standup model, Chinpira: The Sweet and Tender Hooligan (banned in the UK), and the Cardboy Series. CardBoy takes place in an urban wasteland, known as Cardboard City, populated by cardboard/vinyl hybrid beings.
A few years after its creation, Mark felt that the city was getting a bit lonely so he released some SneakerBox playmates for the other CardBoys, so now they can all shoot hoops, grind rails and maybe rob a few banks, together.
“I want to go back to using cardboard more, I’m feeling a little guilty about the amount of plastic that’s coming out of China.”
Format: What was the inspiration for the Cardboy Sneakerbox collection?
Mark James: I had already created the original CardBoy series, which uses the packaging as the main feature of the figure. So when developing the next series I wanted to try and use sneaker boxes, the characters are all based on different brands and their identities. I needed to create a uniform box for all of them, as they’re presented blind box, so it’s a random selection. The character of CardBoy lives in Cardboard City, so each series features some of the residents. I chose Sneakers as the next to come out of the city. The city is overrun with gangs, so there’s a few more to come.
Format: Were there specific sneaker brands featured?
Mark James: I wanted to pay homage to a few of the greats, there are similarities, as you can probably tell, but no specific brand names were used. There might be another series of Sneakers one day, there’s a few more boxes I’ve got my eye on.
Format: How many sneakers do you own? What are your favourites?
Mark James: Not that many I’m afraid. I wear sneakers a lot, but I’m by no way a big collector though. The (Adidas) Superstar has to be my favourite, it’s a classic, everything about it, the shell toe, the gum sole. They have to be box fresh don’t they? You always get annoyed when that first bit of dirt lands on them. The Underworld edition from the first Consortium series were just incredible, such a subtle design, they’re still in their box somewhere. I’ve also got a few of the Bape Skull Stas, very similar to the superstar in design. I picked up the white and yellow ones in Tokyo a few months back, still in the box obviously. I wanted to get all the colour ways, but there has to be a limit.
Format: Were you making an eco friendly decision when working on CardBoy or were you just thinking to do something different?
Mark James: In a way yes, I wanted to use Card as I do a lot of packaging design, and the thought of making something environmentally friendly was part of it, although the final one has a vinyl body. I want to go back to using cardboard more, I’m feeling a little guilty about the amount of plastic that’s coming out of China and being shipped around the world. It doesn’t seem right, but I’m still buying.
Format: How do you feel about other crews that are making their own paper figures?
Mark James: People have been making paper toys for years, it’s not a new thing. I used to get Dalekâ€™s in my serial when I was a kid. It’s all creative stuff though, which is a good thing. It’s a good way to get your work out there, people can get involved, cutting, folding and sticking.
Format: What’s your new Cardboy Cartridge series all about?
Mark James: Cartridges’ is the third series of CardBoy. They live in CardBoard City too, along with the others. Just another pile of disguarded boxes, with feelings like you and me! It will all make sense in the final story. The design is paying homage to the classic bubble jet ink cartridges, which comes from my love of the four colour process, I still have trouble with RGB 72dpi images. I like everything 300dpi, hard copy. There are four in the set, Cyan (C), Magenta (M), Yellow (Y) and of course Black (K), limited to 2000 sets.
More Info: http://www.cardboy.tv/