Normally, when people are finished with a household food items such as cereal, they will throw the box out. For Woodmere native Michael Albert, he created art with the empty boxes.
Pop-artist Albert, 53, has been crafting art for roughly 32 years. Pop art includes imagery from popular and mass culture, such as advertising, comic books and other mass-produced cultural objects. He is known for making collages out of cereal boxes.
Art was not in the original plans for the 1984 Lawrence High School graduate, as he studied business at New York University. “After college, I took a job as a food salesman,” Albert said. “A lot of the time, I would call customers and be on hold for 10 minutes. I would doodle figures to pass the time.”
It started with doodles and eventually evolved to what Albert calls “Cerealism.” The first cereal box creation occurred in 1996 when he found an empty box of Frosted Flakes. “Making art through cereal boxes is something I didn’t plan on doing when I started making art,” he said. “I thought that a cereal box is a universal object that all ages can relate to.” Albert creates this work by piecing bits of cereal boxes together into large collages. The work also often has written messages that include song titles and historical references.
The Hewlett-Woodmere Public Library currently has Albert’s art on display through Feb. 27. Albert returned home to HWPL where he hosted a workshop session of his work for children on Jan. 28. He will also host a discussion there on Feb. 15. “It’s always great to be able to share my work in public places such as a library,” he said. “It’s an honor to share at my work in a place where I grew up.”
The Manes Art and Education Center at the Nassau County Museum of Art in Roslyn is also displaying Albert’s work. The namesake of the center, Dr. Harvey Manes, said that Albert’s work has been well received by museum goers. “The collages he makes are so unique,” Manes said. “He did a workshop at the center earlier in the month and over a hundred people showed up to learn his art.”
Maryland-based filmmaker Conrad Weaver is currently working on a documentary about Albert’s work after meeting him roughly two years ago at the bed and breakfast Weaver and his wife run in Frederick, Md. “I began chatting with him and was immediately fascinated by the art he created through items that people would normally throw away,” Weaver said. “We stayed in touch and I recently spent a few days with him watching him work.” There is no title or release set for the documentary as Weaver said the first step is to put together a trailer video.
Albert said the time he invested in creating shows how much he loves art. “As time went on, I started spending more time with my art as there were times I would stay late at work and just draw,” he said. “I just enjoy creating pieces. I’ve spent thousands of hours doing it, so it’s obviously something I truly love doing.” Albert added that he’s created roughly 10,000 pieces of art in 32 years.
More information on Albert and his work can be found at https://www.michaelalbert.com/.