Wednesday, June 21, 2017 (4:45 pm)

Featured artist to create paper garden at 2017 OC Fair

Kiel Johnson is on a mission: build the world’s largest garden out of construction paper during the 2017 OC Fair.

But he doesn’t want to do it alone. Johnson needs the help of Fairgoers.

“I want this to be a collaborative project where people come in and add pieces to it to make a beautiful thing,” Johnson said.

As a featured artist at this year’s OC Fair, Johnson’s exhibit, Garden Variety: A Collaborative Paper Garden, will be on display in the Visual Arts Gallery throughout the run of the Fair, July 14 – Aug. 13.

A full-time artist based out of Los Angeles, Johnson started his artistic journey about a decade ago and uses everything from metal and plastic to cardboard.

From Dubai to Orange Coast College, Johnson has spread his artistic vision around the world. He’s created everything from a life-like cardboard airplane to a laser made out of plywood, pine, plastic tubing and a bicycle wheel.

“I just want to have a creative life,” Johnson said. “I really love being a Johnny Appleseed and working with the community.”

His garden project had a trial run during Imaginology at OC Fair & Event Center in April, where some pieces were created, but Johnson is aiming even bigger for the Fair’s exhibit.

Johnson will lay a foundation by creating the base of the garden, a couple of wooden trees, and a veggie cart. He wants the garden to look like it’s on a rooftop in Brooklyn, but Avatar-style. He will include a couple of his own pieces, like a plane and a yacht that he made for two separate projects, to add to the beautiful chaos.

Once the basics are in place, it will be up to OC Fairgoers to create flowers, cars, and anything else their heart desires using only construction paper, scissors and glue.

“I know some people will want to take their creations home, and I will set aside a few days toward the end of the Fair to pick up their stuff,” Johnson said. “But I want to encourage people to leave their stuff behind so that everyone can see what a beautiful piece of art everyone helped make.”

Using your imagination for the creations is also encouraged.

“There are templates there if you really need them, but I want to emphasize that there are no rules,” Johnson said.

The garden will be open all 23 days of the Fair. Fairgoers can come in and create pieces even when Johnson is not present.

Johnson began creating pieces for the garden project on June 12. Follow his progress on Instagram @kieljohnson.

The 2017 OC Fair is July 14 through Aug. 13 and will offer 23 days and nights of entertainment, food, rides, shopping, exhibits and more. The Fair is open Wednesdays through Fridays from noon to midnight, and Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to midnight. 
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