Los Angeles-based artist Thrashbird is known primarily for stencils and paintings that blend socio-political commentary and humor, which are often done in highly visible areas like on city walls or billboards. For a recent project called “Valley Of Secret Values,” the artist ventured off the beaten path to an abandoned industrial site. Thrashbird transformed crumbling structures into replicas of high-end designer bags using paint for designs and nearby found objects like tires and wood for the handles, straps, and hardware.
While on an expedition through Lime, Oregon, the artist happened upon what used to be a power plant. “To see [the stones] crumbling with the passage of time, returning to the earth as a dust, well the metaphor was too strong to disregard,” Thrashbird told Ignant. He chose to paint the structures as handbags as “part beautification project, part cautionary tale,” drawing parallels to the destructive nature of society’s obsession with consumerism while confronting his own demons.
“We grapple for status and purpose in society, and [consume] possessions to showcase how successful we are and to fill us with purpose, with complete disregard for the people and the planet affected by our careless overconsumption,” Thrashbird said. “Our measure of success has been skewed. We’ve come to a place in society where things and social status have become more important than our connection to each other.”