Meet the sculptor who works in a Baltimore shipping container depot


When sculptor Renee Arambiges began looking for a studio, she turned to a shipping container depot.

Sculptor Renee Arambiges is used to working in unusual locations. Her first sculptures — two clay giraffes – she created at the Marriott Residences of Pennsylvania, where she lived temporarily after a house fire.

Soon afterward, she retired from her career in banking and became a full-time artist.

“I don’t wanna be dead and you meet your creator and he says, ‘I gave you a talent, why did you waste it?'” she says.

Today, she works in a studio inside a former shipping container in the Lombard Street lot of Picorp, Inc. Nearby, stacks of shipping containers are stacked like legos for giants, bearing names of far off destinations. Forklifts teeter as they lift and lower the boxes.

Owner Gus Lambrow describes the place as a kind of rental car agency for shipping containers. Companies rent out the containers to carry goods across the seas. At any given time, a few thousand of them are just sitting, empty, here in Baltimore, waiting for Fedex or the army to say they need to use them.

It was about two years ago that Arambiges first approached Lambrow to see if she could purchase an old shipping container to work in.

“I needed a studio, and it’s fireproof,” she said. Instead, Lambrow let her use a studio on-site for free.

On a recent weekday around lunch, employees Karen McKay and Michelle Weir stopped in the studio as Arambiges was molding a lump of clay into a little clay elephant, gently smoothing down its sides with drops of water. They ooh’ed and ahh’ed over some new pieces, and promised to come to the artist’s upcoming show in Baltimore.

“She’s the beauty of this place,” says McKay.

Renee’s art exhibition is Nov. 18 from 7-11 pm. 25 W. Preston Street.