Michael Fleishman works in cardboard. Cardboard? Yep, cardboard. Here, he can play with traditional boundaries; picture elements can "bust out" of the conventional limits of circle, square, or rectangle, even act as the frame itself. It’s an exhilarating change of pace that, nonetheless, offers him an outlet for his love of painting and drawing as well as a natural extension for his visual fascination of rivets, screws, ductwork, and mechanical stuff.
Fleishman earned a BS in Art Ed. (from Indiana University of PA) and was certified to teach K-12. He currently teaches art classes (including a cartooning class and now, a cardboard class, of course) for kids and adults at the Mispillion Art League in Milford. He has an MA in Fine Art (Painting and Drawing), also from IUP. He gets referred to as THE CARDBOARD GUY now and couldn't be more pleased. BTW, he's also an English Dept. writing tutor at Delaware Technology Community College in Dover.
He was a college professor, an illustrator, contributing art-anthology editor, guest lecturer, and author of eight published books on design and illustration. He helped create a national illustration conference and taught decades’ worth of kids' classes. And that was all before he packed his life (and studio) into 300 boxes and moved from small-town Ohio to small-state Delaware. Three hundred boxes. A fresh start. Easing into retirement after a lifetime of teaching. Each challenge seemed straightforward, but the act of problem-solving soon made its way into his art. And so did the 300 boxes — literally. Isn’t it wonderful? A whole career doing ostensibly "high art" (painting and drawing) has led Fleishman to the recycling bins, of all places, to create his best work yet. His wife laughs that no box on the side of the road is safe when he is around. Well, that’s only half a joke.
This new work is taking Fleishman in the most amazing direction: it’s a corrugated road paved with egg crates, moving containers, cereal boxes, pizza rounds, and mysterious scraps rescued from the here and there. Indeed, cardboard is a material so ubiquitous and common, it’s often maligned as inconsequential. he calls BS! He was taught that you don't need fancy tools or expensive papers to generate meaningful art. He intends to manipulate this humble surface with ordinary tools to do just that. He is positively tickled to be working in a material so wonderfully simple it presents a simply wonderful challenge.
Milford, DE 19963