Rudi Monterroso in front of the hobbit hole he built for his children

3-D Studio Demo Artist Rudi Monterroso

Rudi Monterroso will be in the 3-D Studio demonstrating upcycled metal art May 5-6, 2018.

The more I learn about our contribution as consumers to global warming, the more I feel responsible to help teach others new ways to use trash.

– Rudi Monterroso

Oliva Davies: What will your demonstration at the DAM look like? What can visitors expect?

Rudi Monterroso: My demonstration will show experimental use of upcycled metal and motors. As an artist and a teacher, I use a diverse range of used materials. The demo will have 3-D art using mostly found metal and other upcycled objects. People should expect to see some of the many possibilities that using upcycled materials have to offer. For this demonstration I am building metal wildflowers and pollinizers, some of the insects will move using found motors.

OD: What would you like people to know about your process?

RM: I grew up in Guatemala and came to the U.S. when I was 20 years old. From the moment that I discovered art, it has been a big passion for me. As a colorblind artist, painting and upcycled sculptures are two of the biggest challenges I have confronted, but also made me explore different ways to create art. I love experimenting new art forms using trash or what is available at the time. Using trash is a step forward to explore new media in an abstractive way.

OD: How has your personal background influenced your work?

RM: My sculptures are the result of experimentation using mostly found objects or materials that will end up in landfills, taking hundreds of years to decompose. The idea is to educate people to find new creative ways to help stop the process of pollution by upcycling. As a Maya artist, I follow the message that my culture influenced in me on doing my part to leave this world better that we found it. I grew up in Guatemala seeing structures that my ancestors built using only local organic materials and whatever else was available. So, if trash is what is and will be available in the future, then we have to learn ways to use it.

OD: What motivated you to use upcycled materials in your work?

RM: The more I learn about our contribution to global warming as consumers, the more I feel responsible to help teach others new ways to use trash. Upcycling exposes us to new challenges and problem solving, giving these materials a new function or purpose. As I continue experimenting and finding new ways to upcycle, I discover more opportunities of how to apply these materials. In my latest project, I built a Hobbit Hole playhouse for my kids using mostly upcycled materials. This project shows the sustainability of materials and how they can be used to create unique, fun spaces for kids to play. As I approach each project I focus on the process that allows me to master the media finding all the possibilities that a particular material has to offer. Teaching others how to upcycle is my small contribution to my community.

Rudi Monterroso grew up in Guatemala and received his BFA from Metropolitan State College of Denver in 2010. He is currently an educator at the Downtown Aurora Visual Arts Center (DAVA). Being colorblind himself, his teaching focuses on showing students how light affects objects rather than color. Monterroso has previously demonstrated at the Denver Art Museum and has also collaborated on the Biennial of the Americas community project inspired by Alvarado-Juárez’s work Aqua-Terra / Terra-Aqua.

Olivia Davies was a studio and artist programs intern in the department of learning and engagement at the Denver Art Museum.

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