Ceramic artist Tim Kowalczyk comes from a long line of cardboard makers. No shit. He says his grandfather, father, brother and at least three of his father’s cousins all worked at the same factory toiling over the rough, brown shipping material. But he had other plans: going to college. Yet when his thesis was due — during the time his grandfather passed — the corrugated aesthetic just wouldn’t quit him.

“(Him passing) is what spurred me to start trying to create the cardboard look out of clay,” he adds.

Now, Kowalczyk is most known for the style, ceramic works done in a wild and completely lifelike representation of what others view as trash. Mugs made to look like a recycled Amazon box. Fancy vases molded to look like packing refuse. Fragile, but not. 

He also makes sticks, rocks, crayons, Polaroids and other things he finds to be fascinating where others don’t. “I make stuff out of stuff that looks like other stuff,” he says.

See more of Tim Kowalcyzk on Instagram at @timsceramics