Denver native's used bicycles chandeliers have made her an international art star
After tinkering around with making bicycle chandeliers in the little free time she had, the opportunity finally arose for Alzaga to devote herself completely to the project. "I knew making a bicycle chandelier was going to be time-consuming, so it wasn't until my BFA thesis that I was given the first opportunity to do whatever the hell I wanted. So I proposed this bicycle sculpture to my advisers, even though my background was in digital art and painting. And they approved it."
Alzaga received "Best in Show" for her thesis project, and donated the chandelier to Derailer -- a local bicycle collective -- where it still hangs. "They're doing a really amazing thing: a free, volunteer run bicycle collective," Alzaga gushes. "They were really supportive of me when I first started."
Alan J. Crossley
A week after graduating in 2007, Alzaga moved to Mexico City -- where some of her family lives -- and began making her bicycle chandeliers full time, showing her work in galleries around the city. Known as "The CONNECT" series, the chandeliers began taking on a glamorous, Victorian beauty, while still maintaining the contrasting theme of recycled bicycle anatomy.
After that, Alzaga traveled the world, bouncing between Berlin, L.A., Mexico City and Denver -- all the while continuing to produce her eccentric cycle lamps. "I would just work out of my friends' garages, living rooms and porches," she says. "At that time, my production wasn't so big, so I could have these make-shift ateliers."
Things have changed since then. Now based in L.A., Alzaga keeps very busy satiating the demands for her elegant designs -- which have been celebrated in international publications such as Zink, Vice, Juxtapoz, Sunset and Glow. Though her Denver roots are never far from her heart or her business: she donates ten percent of her profits to Derailer.
"Even though we're not blood related, I still have so much family in Denver," says Alzaga. "It's incredibly important to me to recognize where I came from. I'm so proud of the fact that I went to East High School, and graduated from Metro. I worked at the campus art gallery for two years, and the director, Shannon Corrigan, was so important to my development as an artist. I'm very proud of where I come from."
Continue for more pictures of Carolina Fontoura Alzaga's bicycle chandeliers