It is a special gift bestowed upon artists to take what is ugly and make it beautiful. In his Recycle series, photographer Cristobal Valecillos uses every day materials to craft the fashions and sets he then photographs, so that what is often never looked twice upon becomes elevated to extraordinary.
Every single thing but the models in each set is carefully crafted from pizza boxes, Starbucks sleeves, newspapers, etc., giving each design incredible texture and depth. The fashions seem to fit the models as well as any couture, and the drama of what seems to be unfolding in the expanded scenes lends those pieces in particular a wonderfully theatrical quality.
I spotted Valecillos’ work several times at the LA Art Show and the photographs, mounted on plexiglass are sleek and beautiful in person. However, it was the artist’s cardboard sculptures and set installation that really stayed with me. A reminder that every thing around us is temporary and fleeting, every chair we covet and save for, every piece of art hanging on our walls, every item of clothing carefully chosen.
In his artist statement, Valecillos alludes to the creation of beauty from waste, using recycling to inspire art. For me, I see in his work more of a statement upon the artificiality and ephemeral nature of the world we find ourselves in. What do you see?
To see more of Cristobal Valecillos’ work, please visit his website.
All images are via the website of the artist’s representing gallery, The McLoughlin Gallery.