© Krystal Ramirez
© Krystal Ramirez
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© Thomas Willis
An Empire in Cardboard: Justin Favela creates high level art with low-budget material Inspiration gives rise to every real work of art, and thankfully, comes without guidelines or limitations. BY JOhn Dunia For artist Justin Favela, inspiration comes from a simple piece of cardboard and the city he calls home. “It’s not only a versatile medium to work in,” says Favela, “It’s also a great metaphor for Las Vegas.” Favela points out that many things in Las Vegas are temporary and creating art out of reclaimed cardboard reflects the city’s transient, throw-away nature. His recent exhibition “County Center” was a tongue-in-cheek version of the CityCenter art collection, with miniature reimagined versions of the $40 million collection in cardboard, chicken wire and paper-mache. Displayed in the Clark County Government Center from May to August of this year, the show brought Favela national attention and critical acclaim. Favela began college at UNLV with plans to pursue a teaching career, majoring in history and secondary education. He took a drawing class as an elective and discovered a hidden talent. After changing his major to Fine Art, he found himself in Danielle Kelly’s 3D Design course which included using cardboard in unusual ways. Humble and unpretentious by nature, the medium matched the artist.
Although cardboard has been his goto material, he also works in canvas, sculpture and photography. For the recent show Too Soon! at Mundo at World Market Center, he partnered with local artist Sam Reza to honor well-loved deceased celebrities by rendering them in piñatas. Favela’s piece “Untitled (Red Piñata)” is on display in Emergency Arts throughout December and will eventually be auctioned off to benefit local organization ActionRED for World AIDS Day. Unlike the future of some of his cardboard pieces, Favela is making a permanent mark on the Las Vegas art scene.
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