Denver native's used bicycles chandeliers have made her an international art star
When most people look at a mound of used bicycle parts they see (at best) the potential for scrap metal, or possibly a refurbished bike. But when Carolina Fontoura Alzaga looks at the same junkyard of rust and discarded, greasy metal, she sees interior design.
Alan J. Crossley
"I was living at the collective Clandestino's in 2005, and saw a DIY pot rack hanging in the kitchen," says Alzaga of the early inspiration for her chandeliers. "It was a bike rim on its side, with all these pots and pans hanging from it. And from there I got the idea to do a mobile from bicycle parts, which eventually became the chandeliers."
A graduate of East High School, in 2005 Alzaga was studying art at Metro State, often utilizing the plethora of bike parts lying around Clandestinos for fun side-projects like sculptures and even clothing. "Art school was taking up all of my time, not really allowing me any room for personal projects. I was just doing whatever was required of me."
For some art students, a comprehensive, demanding curriculum is necessary to keep the artist busy and engaged. But for someone like Alzaga -- for whom inspiration comes as easy and often as a heartbeat -- outside demands can be somewhat frustrating. She remembers the early influence of local painter Ravi Zupa, encouraging her to paint regardless of training or ability; and her first patron, comedian and Denver nativeT.J. Miller, illuminating the possibilities of a supportive community and living off your art. All of this led Alzaga to pursue her own creative vision regardless of her major.
Alan J. Crossley