Denver native's used bicycles chandeliers have made her an international art star

Alan J. Crossley
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.

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"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."

Alan J. Crossley
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.

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