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Artist Ana Serrano Recreates South L.A. – In Cardboard

Strip malls in South L.A. may not be the first place you think of when it comes to art, but for artist Ana Serrano, they're the inspiration for her nearly life-sized cardboard models on display in Houston. Her current installation, Salon of Beauty, at the Rice Gallery is a recreation of elements of South Los Angeles she photographed to build her models.

According to Co. Design, Serrano was particularly inspired by Firestone Boulevard and Florence Avenue, between Alameda and Crenshaw. Serrano's models are incredibly detailed, including "the hundreds of cardboard shingles affixed with hot glue, to gorgeous Spanish 'tiles' that cover a floor of a house, to a tiered wedding cake in the bakery window, complete with paper roses."

Serrano likes working in cardboard, and feels the impermanence of the material references the physicality of the neighborhoods as well, where may of these structures are torn down quickly and rebuilt. She also tells Co. that her emphasis on the built environment can change people's perception of the city: "I do hope that people notice these details in a different light than what they are usually perceived as...But ultimately it's up to the viewer to decide what the impact of the work is going to be for them."


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