Gary Card’s Abandoned Amusement Park Attraction

Few designers, you’d assume, seek to evoke the idea of an ‘abandoned amusement arcade’ in their creations.

An open-mouthed character
An open-mouthed character

Implying dilapidated, forlorn and rusting wastelands, these spaces may not be pretty, but for illustrator and set designer Gary Card, they’ve certainly proved inspiring.

Gary Card
Gary Card

Card’s first solo shows opens in east London this week, entitled Abandoned Amusement Park Attraction, drawing together ideas from his six-year career.

Why the long face?
Why the long face?

‘I like the idea of these wonderful cuddly round shapes and characters being left to rot. It’s very mysterious – why were they left? What happened? I really like the juxtaposition between the soft and cartoon with the broken and grotesque’, says Card.

Hello Duckie!
Hello Duckie!

The designer has created a series of surreal, clown-like characters for the show using only masking tape, marking quite a departure from a career that has thus far taken in set design for clients including London Fashion Week, illustration, Dalston concept store LN-CC, some pretty haunting T-shirts  and an electric Christmas tree.

A man of many faces
A man of many faces

‘I wanted to do something for the love of making again; it was almost about reminding myself about why I create things’, says Card.

‘The subject matter is a recurring theme in my work. There’s a little bit of sad clown in so much of my work.’

Spidermouth
Spidermouth

It took more than 300 rolls of masking tape to create the pieces that have formed the strange crowd seen in the final show. The eerie beings aim to ‘distort cartoon iconography’, according to Card, drawing inspiration from artists such as Tom Sachs and Paul McCarthy.

A large-tongued fellow and friends
A large-tongued fellow and friends

‘I made pieces as large as I wanted, shifting scale was important to me with this project, I wanted some them to loom over you rather menacingly and some of them to be smaller, slightly sadder and a little pathetic’, says Card.

‘The characters in the show will hopefully take on a little life of their own in the show, they all tell a little story.’

A happy little chappie
A happy little chappie

Abandoned Amusement Park Attraction runs until 21 August at Eternal Youth, 378 Kingsland Road, Dalston, London E8

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