By Rich Kane
By Joel Beers
By LP Hastings
By Dave Barton
By Patrice Wirth Marsters
By Erin DeWitt
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By LP Hastings
Carolina Fontoura Alzaga admits her name is a mouthful, as she pronounces it with an accent you can't exactly place. She goes by Facaro instead: a combination of her names that embodies the unusual life she has led.
Using only bicycle chains, wheels and gears, Facaro builds table lamps with softly swinging tassels and 8-foot-long chandeliers featuring sweeping curves. The combination of metal and feminine form is so dramatic one would think the juggernaut belongs in a futuristic yet Gothic castle. Facaro salvages every strand and spoke from junkyards and bike shops around SoCal—11 of which are in OC, including Jax Bicycles and Surf City Cyclery.
The charm of Facaro's pieces isn't only physical—it's the message behind it all, as well. She grew up bouncing between her families in Mexico City; Denver, Colorado; and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. But when the time came for college, it was the year she spent traveling Europe and squatting that sculpted her. She ended up at an artists' collective in Denver and chose to do a bike chandelier as part of her BFA thesis. Things are not made to last anymore, she explains, so we live in an excess of disposable goods that just end up in finite landfills. "These bike parts would just be thrown away, but instead, I elevate a base material and breathe new life into it," she says.
Facaro describes how bike culture seeped in during her travels and her participation in social-justice movements when she learned about "spoke council organizing," whose language reflects all elements of bicycle bodies. "Whether they're used for exercise, for leisure or out of absolute necessity, bicycles are a part of all lives," regardless of social strata, she says.
Gallery Fifty24MX in Mexico City took notice of what she thought was a one-time thing, and her work's momentum hasn't halted since; she's even been invited to work and showcase with Croft House in Los Angeles.
Her CONNECT Series, and the stories that each cascading chain tells, can be seen at www.facaro.com.