Friday, 08 May, 2009 Offbeat

Artist Uses Playing Cards to Make Works of Art


Meet Bryan Berg, who was officially registered in the Guinness Book of Records at the Texas State Fair after building a mesmerizing skyscraper from playing cards. The building was 25 feet 9 7/16 inches tall and it took the artist about 5 weeks to make.

Among other impressive creations of Iowa native Berg, who now lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, there is a replica of a Japanese shrine, the Iowa State Capitol building, Ebbets Field, as well as the Cinderella's castle from the Walt Disney World that Berg made from playing cards without using any glue, tape or other tricks. The castle was created in 2004 when Berg set up a new category in the Guinness Book of Records for the World's Largest House of Cards.

The artist was initially trained as an architect. In 1997 he received his Professional Degree in Architecture, after serving as design faculty for three years in the Department of Architecture at Iowa State University. In 2004 he earned his Master of Design Studies from the Harvard Graduate School of Design in 2004.

The artist travels often and up till now he managed to stack cards in every major city of the United States, as well as in Japan, Denmark, and Germany.

Besides Walt Disney World, Berg's clients include Star Wars, San Francisco Opera, Neopets/Wizards of the Coast, Fuji Television Japan, Post Cereal, Pinnacle Brands, Topps, Baseball Hall of Fame, DMG World Media, and Procter and Gamble.

The artists also worked on the projects initiated by Coca-Cola, Pepsi, American Airlines, Major League Baseball, and the National Hockey League.

According to Berg, he makes all structures according to a methodical system and he does not arrange cards randomly. He tries to visualize the structure he is about to make and constructs it using a kind of repetitive geometry that looks like a honeycomb. However, there's more than just geometry - Berg estimated that every seven decks is a pound and during a day he uses from 10 to 25 pounds.

"You take all that mass, all that weight, and combine it with all that repetitive geometry, and you're looking at something that's incredibly strong," he says.

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