Jordan Fretz turns leftover cardboard into works of art. Photo provided by Jordan Fretz.

Jordan Fretz’s creativity has taken him many places in life — including a dumpster. No, the artist wasn’t starving. He was searching for cardboard, not to build a home but to create a masterpiece.

As Jackson Marketing’s associate creative director, Fretz loves to design but enjoys artistic time away from the screen to unwind. That’s where the cardboard comes in.

“I just wanted to get off the computer again. I kind of need a balance,” he says. “In the evening, I can pick up a piece of cardboard or something random and just start doodling.”

Fretz’s random doodles garnered attention and eventually led to him being in a downtown art studio for some time.

“Once I started experimenting with cardboard that really added a new level of excitement in a way,” Fretz says. “I was just using something that people had trashed.”

Pure creativity drives Fretz’s artwork — whether he’s designing logos, painting with oils or drawing on cardboard.

He transforms random ideas into tangible works of art: “I can’t just sit down and not do something,” he says. “I take inspiration from all over the place.”

It’s no wonder Fretz has earned a reputation among friends as the cardboard guy: He collects scraps of cardboard from the warehouse at his work; cardboard boxes from Costco; even coffee cup sleeves from friends and coworkers. 

Jordan Fretz in his natural state — grabbing cardboard.

“I’ve actually gotten stuck in a dumpster trying to get out with pieces of cardboard,” he says. “I’ll just go grab cardboard all the time.”

His coworkers even troll him at times by leaving childlike cardboard replicas of Fretz’s artwork.

But all joking aside, Fretz enjoys the artistic freedom cardboard allows him. “Unlike paper where you need something to sit it on, the cardboard, I could just grab a little piece and sit on the sofa with my wife and draw,” he says.

The white and black charcoal on the brown canvas of cardboard offer a unique contrast that appeals to Fretz. The subjects of these artworks vary from people and cars to animals and nature scenes.

“What I enjoy doing is just doing what I want to do,” he says. “And then if people want to buy it, cool. If not, I just wanted to stretch my creative skills.”

While design remains his first love, art serves as a relaxing hobby to do at home with his family. Fretz’s 19-month-old son enjoys doodling alongside him.

“He flipped all the pages over on one of the big Post-it notes and started drawing on the cardboard,” Fretz says. “I was like this kid — he’s my kid.”

To see more or purchase Fretz’s work, follow @jordanfretzart on Instagram.

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