Among the most authentic contemporary street art renegades, Thrashbird uses both humor and subversion to dramatize significant issues that plague our society: obsessional interest in celebrity, our own self-image and over-reliance on technology.
While Thrashbird’s own identity remains incognito, his art tackles universal themes that we can all relate to and see ourselves perpetuating whether we want to admit it or not. Thrashbird’s latest project, located miles away from any populated area, is an act of subversion both in content and form.
Known for the cheekiness with which he subverts mainstream culture, his work is subtle social commentary served with humour and satire.
His latest work – Valley of Secret Values, he has gone one step further, abandoning the billboards which he is known for above the busy highways of Los Angeles to take over a series of monoliths in an abandoned concrete plant in Lime, Oregon, which he has transformed into luxury handbags.
Visiting the decaying plant he was struck by the surreal ideas of discovering some kind of graveyard for giant designer purses, in what was a vivid hallucination that was just begging to come true. As he explains, “one’s imagination is a playground of boundless adventures. I try to bring those adventures to life,” and that is exactly what he did.
Exuberantly spray-painted using stencils and accessorized with tyres as chain straps and rocks as beads, the crumbling concrete boulders have been revamped into designer handbags, from Gucci, Chanel and Prada to Givenchy, Louis Vuitton and Alexander McQueen, becoming the very antithesis of their derelict nature.
Part cautionary tale, part beautification project, whatever message one derives from it, “Thrashbird’s Valley of Secret Values” is a mesmerizing feat of ingenuity which, as faith would have it, is currently being torn down. Scheduled to be completed in June 2018, the demolition is part of the local council’s efforts to sell the site to a new industrial entity.