"I want it to look over the top, I want it to look crazy, I want it to be very fun," declared Trina Bacon, as she and fellow artist Agosto Cuellar shared giggles, "oohs" and "aahs" while decorating their models with computer chips … computer chips converted into jewelry that is. And that was my first glimpse into the love-child art and fashion show Bacon and Cuellar so aptly named "Electric Junk Love."
I joined the packed audience donning leopard prints, leather, faux hawks, and one Dali-styled mustache as they greeted the up-cycled creations in the futuristic home-turned-art-gallery of architect John Speegle and fashion writer Leandra Hernandez. There was enthusiastic applause as the models sashayed down the two stairwells with their Cuellar-Bacon exclusive computer chip tiaras, necklaces, and earrings. In keeping with the home-grown vibe, the models were everyday women and girls of many ages and ethnicities. The show included Trina's young daughter, Elizabeth, who looked adorable with a five inch bow made of laminated newspaper in her hair and a motherboard pendant refashioned to look like a mix between R2-D2 and the Tin Man (complete with a red heart). With the eclectic crowd and even more eclectic jewelry, it was only fitting that the fashion show was set to the song, "Everyday is Halloween."
As the artists made their way through the barrage of kudos to greet their proud parents, I strolled along the black, red, and gold walls to soak in some of the installation art. The similarities between the artists was evident, as both use a variety of common objects from junkyards and thrift stores in their pieces and tap into a vein of Mexican folk art inspiration. Cuellar's "Amulet with Skulls," for example, was a melding of miniature skulls and metal cufflinks reminiscent of Mexican traditions like Dia de los Muertos. Bacon's personal favorite, "The Things I Keep Inside," featured a mannequin torso with a peek-a-boo hole cut out at the heart allowing the viewer to see tiny furniture set inside of the mannequin's body.
I found Bacon's fluorescent painted mannequins in "Bodies of Enlightenment" quite pretty, with beads of light in swirling patterns emanating from the brightly dyed figures. Cuellar's understated humor of "Paige y Caitlin," featuring two elegant sculptures of ancient African queens side by side, was also effective. On meeting and working with Cuellar, Bacon mused, "I feel like he is the other half of my creative side." Co-host Leandra Hernandez was also glowing after the event as she shared her hopes and dreams for future shows, "Our events go beyond the white walls and a gallery space — they are a celebration of emerging artists in San Antonio."
Electric Junk Love
Middle Bubble Gallery
1023 Avenue B Apts 2/3
Through September 16 by appointment