Ten years ago, I made one of the biggest and most influential changes in my life, I switched the green for the gray, I moved from San José, Costa Rica, to New York, USA. When I say "green" and "gray", I am not only referring to the real jungle versus the concrete jungle, but also to the different ways in which people interact with each other, and how differently they consume and throw away in these two cities. I strongly believe that we are more what we throw away than what we consume. I see trash bags on the streets as portraits of the people who filled them in, I use plastic bags as a way to tell a story about a particular place in a particular time, I see trash as everyone's resource rather than everyone's problem and I see inspiration where people do not even look.
I have been collecting and working with plastic bags as my main material since 2010. By making collages out of the plastic bags of every city I visit, I get to frame a specific place in a particular time. For example, in May 2017, I traveled around the world for a year, visiting a different city every month. I continued working on this series by collecting plastic bags and turning them into a Plastic Portrait by creating a collage out of them. The way I composed them does not only represent the way I want to remember this city but also the way I want to remember my experience while living in it. Almost like a diary entry but of an entire month in each city.
We are now living in a time where every day someone signs a law to ban the distribution of (free) single-use plastic/bags in their business, neighborhood, city and/or country. So, my artworks could be an illustration of the idea that “you can’t step in the same river twice” because with new laws passing and businesses closing, the chances of my recreating or replicating the collage I made in Budapest, Hungary is not even a possibility. I like to think that maybe one day, when plastic bags will be extinct or at least not available in the way we used to receive/use them, these artworks will not only be exhibited in art museums but also in history museums to show future generations this artifact that past generations used to carry their belongings and purchases around.
A month ago, I got a simplified version of my favorite plastic bag (the classic New York delivery bag with the smiley face) tattooed on my left inner ankle for all the reasons I just shared plus the fact that my artwork that was featured in the cover of adhesive magazine’s second issue and that was my first time in a cover of a magazine (big accomplishment) and because now that I moved to Mexico City, I don’t see this bag as often and one day, when they stop circulating I will still have “mine”. Also, along the lines of my artworks being in a history museum, imagine how cool it will be when my grandkids or great-grandkids ask me what is it that I have tattooed on my left inner ankle, I can tell them everything I just told you in this interview and more!
LESS WASTE, MORE ART! =)
Currently living and working in Mexico City, Mexico.