Essex-based Leo Bignell, a 16-year-old student at St Joseph’s College in Ipswich, held his first solo exhibition, at the end of last year, of his cardboard sculptures at Turners menswear shop in Colchester. What’s unusual about his sculptures, apart from the fact that they are made from cardboard, is the drama, intensity and realism of each piece. The Royal Academy took note early in 2019 when three of his sculptures were shortlisted for its first Young Artists’ Summer Show.
His showcase is the culmination of years of dedication. Leo may only be 16, but he’s been drawing and designing since he was old enough to hold a pencil.
Nicola Burrell, visited his primary school when he was much younger and showed the class what could be achieved with cardboard. From then he couldn’t get enough Amazon boxes to feed his
creativity. But what he does with this material is so delicate and impressive, you have to see it to believe it.
Speaking about his sculptures, Nicola said: “It’s completely staggering what Leo has achieved working with cardboard. His imagination and creativity are undoubted, but then there’s his
forensic attention to detail, his skill. He can make cardboard look like leather, denim, skin; he’s totally mastered the material.”