In the ‘Valley Of Secret Values’ Los Angeles-based artist, Thrashbird, has transformed the crumbling concrete monoliths of an abandoned power plant in Lime, Oregon, into a visually arresting site of outdoor art.
Well known for utilizing public spaces to make socio-political statements about the issues currently affecting modern-day culture, Thrashbird’s latest project takes a different course: located miles away from any populated area, the dilapidated boulders are spray painted with elaborate stencils and resourcefully decorated with found materials as the designer bag accessories.
Speaking of how the idea came about conceptually, Thrashbird explains that he was on a painting expedition at the time, and stumbled across the maze of derelict boulders that immediately piqued his artistic interest. “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“.
In his own words, the ‘Valley Of Secret Values’ is part beautification project, part cautionary tale, and was thus produced to continue the important discourse surrounding society’s detrimental obsession with bombastic consumerism. The handbag installations themselves are used as a mechanism to display dissension at our self-preoccupation with wealth and status, a point that is flagged as personal for Thrashbird himself. The project “highlights my own struggle with ego and grandiosity; hence the scale of it”, he explains. “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. 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”, he laments.