Anybody who grew up crafting with pony beads and rope will acknowledge the long-lasting beaded lizard. Dangling from backpacks touring to and from grade faculty, buying and selling colourful designs with pals, and crafting these tiny reptiles collectively are fond recollections that come to thoughts when admiring at Jeff Rubio’s large creaturely sculptures.
Invoking queerness, nostalgia, and pleasure, the artist faucets into childhood expertise by creating large-scale variations of the youthful pastime. Based mostly in Philadelphia and understanding of the historic Bok constructing, Rubio first molds dozens of ceramic pony beads, considerably outsized compared to the everyday craft materials. They then introduce vibrant rope to string collectively each bit to kind the evocative, recognizable lizard form. Rubio additionally fashions giant metal paperclips onto a number of of their items to remodel them into keychains, once more connecting to the act of crafting as a child, scrounging round for supplies, and dealing with essentially the most accessible provides.
“In my studio, I discover myself surrounded by tokens of my childhood—Tamagotchis, motion figures, and Glad Meal toys. Whereas these artifacts maintain nice sentimental worth, they’re usually rather a lot smaller than we recollect,” Rubio tells Colossal, explaining additional:
The small scale makes the childhood recollections extra distant and wistful. Once I was creating a duplicate of the beaded lizard keychain from my childhood, I needed to have a deeper reflection on the act of play. By the usage of large-scale ceramic beads, I’ve managed to recapture the feeling of being a small youngster.
The artist continues to create works drawing from their adolescent recollections, specializing in iterations of Tamagotchis, Mr. Potato Head, and extra. Rubio is anticipating a forthcoming group present at Commonweal Gallery, opening this November. To see extra of their course of, take a look at their Instagram and website.
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