enculturating las vegas into the next millennium... art, dance, film, music, poetry, theater, history, nature and everything else that enriches the lives of those who live and visit southern nevada... Since 2003...

Saturday, February 06, 2010

You Say Stardust I say Estardas...

Over the last few days I have been pleasantly surprised by the works of art that I have had the pleasure to muse with in 18b, especially works that were inspired by Las Vegas. Kristine McCallister's important works at Brett Wesley Gallery comes to mind with renditions of the Neon Museums Boneyard set against the stark contrasts of the venerable storage facility on North Las Vegas Boulevard. In addition Bobby Logic's "Frontier" at Laura Henkel Fine Art featuring the long gone "Frontier" and "Stardust" signs with a construction crane in the background hearkening back to the days of Las Vegas' excesses.

But of all the Las Vegas inspired works that I have seen this week there is one piece that absolutely blew me away and took me back to a time when I was a child growing up in Las Vegas; Justin Favela's Latinized version of the historic "Stardust" sign "Estardas." Anyone who grew up in Las Vegas over the last several decades who happen to be of Latin descent remembers the way we pronounced the word "Stardust" in Spanish. Recalling my parents way of pronouncing the word not to mention the multitude of family and friends who came to the city and simply said "el Estardas". It is very obvious that Favela's work is both inspired by his experiences growing up in the Radiant City and his time working as a tour guide at the Neon Museum.

"Estardas" is also a very important work of art in the evolution of Las Vegas' art scene because it bridges the gap between the artistic and Latino communities. For years there has been a disconnect between these two important communities especially in the acknowledgment of contributions Latins have given to the arts in Las Vegas. But aside of these cultural disconnects small steps are being taken to correct it and those steps are being taken by talented artists like Justin Favela. Favela is without a doubt an artist that this community should keep an eye on.

"Estardas" which is made completely of cardboard and is approximately 8' wide and 4' tall, is one of the centerpieces of the Contemporary Arts Center's show "Tomorrow People." A beautifully curated collection of works by young artists who have been inspired by Las Vegas arts scene and their studies at UNLV. The other featured artists in the exhibition are Leah Craig, Catherine Cruise and Thomas Willis.

I would encourage you to see "Estardas" and other works at the Contemporary Arts Center located in the historic Arts Factory in 18b Las Vegas' Arts District. For more information please visit their website at http://www.lasvegascac.org/

For more information about Brett Wesley Gallery and "Full Figured Neon Kiss"

For more information about Laura Henkel Fine Art and "Big City Madness"

posted by Brian Paco Alvarez, Curator and Chronicler of Culture at


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, I also enjoyed Justin's work. The tamale sculpture is relevant to LV - it's great to see a talented young artist with a sense of humor and a strong sense of identity. As always - love Leah and Thomas!

10:12 AM


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