‘World's Largest Paper Garden' to Grow at OC Fair

Fair goers can contribute to artist Kiel Johnson's fanciful construction paper-filled world.

Colorful construction paper? It's one of our longtime go-to materials when we want to make a greeting card, a picture for the grandma, or a paper chain to decorate an entryway, Christmas tree, or impromptu birthday party.

The crafty substance can flower in numerous ways, in other words, but to see it flower as actual flowers, as in thousands of them, will surely be a fanciful sight to fair goers' eyes. And those fair goers? They'll be at the 2017 OC Fair, which opens at the OC Fair & Event Center in Costa Mesa on Friday, July 14.

No doubt about it, the twirly rides, racing pigs, and doughnut ice cream chicken sandwiches will surely catch a lot of the public's attention, but so shall artist Kiel Johnson's mega, and mega whimsical, undertaking. He hopes to "build the world's largest garden out of construction paper during the OC Fair." 

But the LA-based creator of interesting artworks, artworks that arise from everyday materials, won't be undertaking this bright-of-idea, bright-of-eye project alone. Mr. Johnson is asking guests of the fair to also lend a hand by cutting out a few blossoms or stems or another addition to the unusual spread of papery petals.

Where to go to jump into this joyful slice of only-at-the-fair fun? "Garden Variety: A Collaborative Paper Garden" will be on view at the Visual Arts Gallery. And it is sure to grow, grow, grow during the Costa Mesa merriment's month-long run (though, do note that the fair is open Wednesday through Sunday, and shuttered on Mondays and Tuesdays).

Mr. Johnson will start things off for creative, construction paper-wielding visitors by fashioning "the base of the garden, a couple of trees, and a wooden cart." He's going for a "rooftop in Brooklyn" look for this pretty plot, with a twist of "Avatar" magic.

And, nope, you don't have to stick to just flowers, if something a bit stranger would look good in the garden from your imaginative viewpoint. An ice cream cone? A puppy? A puppy eating an ice cream cone?

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Go for it.

The artist's work has run the whimsical gamut over the years, with a "life-like cardboard airplane," complete with cool dials and fixtures, in his oeuvre. "I just want to have a creative life. I really love being a Johnny Appleseed and working with the community."

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