Friday, Nov. 4, 2011 | 11:10 a.m.
We first came across artist Justin Favela’s work in 2009 when he created a Mister Rogers-style rendition of his childhood Las Vegas neighborhood for a National Invitational Postcard Exhibit, in which he constructed houses, buildings and streets out of cardboard and papier-mâché, and photographed the environment—a compelling landscape of dreamy nostalgia.
Favela has since exhibited at Trifecta Gallery, the Contemporary Arts Center and, more recently, the Clark County Government Center Rotunda, where his solo show, CountyCenter, provided a semi-satirical response to CityCenter’s $40 million art collection in playful appropriation—large, rudimentary works made with reclaimed cardboard and a glue gun. It was conceptually brilliant and endearing. The show even included a version of Maya Lin’s “Silver River”—not made from reclaimed silver and representing the Colorado River, but a tinfoil-and-chicken-wire rendition of the Las Vegas Wash.
Family, culture and television play out heavily in his art. His father is from Mexico, his mother from Guatemala, which helps explain his piñatas featured in group shows. To celebrate this year’s Day of the Dead week, Favela collaborated with artist Sam Reza in the show, Too Soon!, at Mundo restaurant, where they honored their favorite departed celebrities by rendering them in piñatas (through Nov. 13). Check out Favela's work in December at Trifecta Gallery’s MEATumental exhibit.