Need career advice? Visit University Career Services today!

Boxed Up: Atlanta’s Cardboard Mania

Cardboard heroes attend Cardboard Con inside the Atlanta Marriott Marquis, March 5, 2016. Photo by Jade Johnson | The Signal
Cardboard heroes attend Cardboard Con inside the Atlanta Marriott Marquis, March 5, 2016.
Photo by Jade Johnson | The Signal

Grab some markers, a few rolls of colorful duct tape and dumpster dive into a new experience with an unique twist. Cardboard Con is a free event that will keep you thoroughly entertain, from the welcoming participants to the wacky yet innovative costumes.

Getting Boxy

Unlike the fancy Comic-Cons that come to Atlanta every year, Cardboard Con was designed to be a fun event that combines innovative cardboard costumes, with friends and few drinks.

Ayn Rand Conference 2019

Frequent attendees get creative, such as one member of the Con dressing up as a litter box. Cardboard enthusiast, Amanda Wollnick, has been attending the event for five years, and she enjoys cat themed costumes.

“I try to do things that are cat themed, so I said, ‘you know what a littler box is kinda funny,’ Wollnick said. “It’s fun to wear cardboard, there’s great art value, [especially] in the winter or the cold March month.”

The Con celebrated it’s 7th annual event on Saturday, March 5th. The evening of excitement started with a public parade to the Marriott Marquis downtown Atlanta. It’s popularity is attributed to the people being able to immerse themselves fully into the world of cardboard.

——–

The First Box

Robinson Test Prep Academy
Cardboard Con 2016 attendee wears a cardboard "box whine" as her costume, March 5, 2016. Photo by Jade Johnson | The Signal
Cardboard Con 2016 attendee wears a cardboard “box whine” as her costume, March 5, 2016.
Photo by Jade Johnson | The Signal

The original idea for the Con started as a joke, for a flash mob. A group of friends thought it would be fun to crash Dragoncon with costumes made entirely out of cardboard. One of the original troopers and founder, Andrew Duncan, decided to create his Con in 2010 after the cardboard soldiers gained popularity amongst other people.

Duncan is pro designer and creative consultant, and he owns his own props company. He’s taken his work to the next level, some of which is on the big screen, as an assistant propmaster.

Today the event is held annually, in any space that can accommodate the crowd of people. It’s considered the most affordable science fiction convention in Atlanta, according to the Cardboard Cons website.

Each year the event gains more followers. Original Cardboard Con participant and Duncan’s friend, Todd Sayre, talks about the Box Cons history and his experience with the event. The cardboard costumes were a hit because no one else thought to use the martial to imitate sci-fi fantasy characters.

Ryan Walton, left, and his cardboard heroes have a conversation at Pulse Bar inside the Atlanta Marriott Marquis, March 5, 2016. Photo by Jade Johnson | The Signal
Ryan Walton, left, and his cardboard heroes have a conversation at Pulse Bar inside the Atlanta Marriott Marquis, March 5, 2016.
Photo by Jade Johnson | The Signal

What was the idea behind the cardboard costumes?

Sayre: Drew came up with this concept of doing a flash mob, and he wanted to do it at Dragoncon, the rules were to show up at DragonCon, middle of the day Saturday, go into the lobby of the Hyatt and then from there go out scavenging cardboard, enough to build a custom, the only thing you came with is tape, a marker, and something to cut with.

How did you get the attendees attention at the con?

Sayre: We went to the corner of the lobby, built our costumes on site, taped them together, put them on and then we had three things that we were going to do for two minutes each. One was beeping and singing, ‘beer, beer, beer,’ and then no one could hear us because we had costumes on. The other was cheering and yelling, and getting everybody to cheer, and then we were going to end.

How did other people at Dragoncon react to the Trooper costumes?

Sayre: We got so much attention and became so popular, for the rest of Dragoncon we could not walk more than 10 to 30 second without someone wanting a picture, because no one had done anything with cardboard.

———-

Boxed Event

The night was filled with laughter as the Cardboard Con members exchanged stories and conversed with good drinks. As the event moved from one location to the next, everyone stopped to take pictures with curious bystanders in the hotel lobbies.

The event started with a parade, at 8 p.m., followed by drinks at the Pulse Bar in the Marriott Marquis. The rest of the night was finished in Trader Vic’s located in the basement of the Hyatt.

The Box Con ended with panel discussions covering topics like Dirty Dumpster Tricks and Cleanly Cut Cardboard, which focused on the positive uses of cardboard. The crowd gathered for numerous photos and a costume contest.

Nominees included Deer and their Hunter, who won the creative use of cardboard and Angler, a giant cardboard Anglerfish, who won the 2016 Cardboard Con Costume Contest.

Wonder Twins,
Wonder Twins

———-

Cardboard Heroes

The next level of costumes can take a traditional box and transformed it into a superhero. Stephen Larkworthy, is the designer and creator of Box Heros. His Avenger team of coworkers and friends attend various events such as parades and children’s hospitals.

When he’s not working, Larkworthy is creating suits made entirely of cardboard boxes, using a software called AutoCad. After a suit is made, the hard work goes to the recipients who then paint the suit, which can take anywhere from a week to a month.

Larkworthy attends Cardboard Con to share his passion with people who enjoy being engulfed in the world of cardboard.

“If there’s cardboard in the name the box heroes have to come, it’s something we are bound to do,” Larkworthy said. “It’s a normal night, [with] a bunch of people like at other conventions, [which] [makes] it special, and so much fun to be a part of.”

For more information about Box Heros visit the company’s website.