Los Angeles-based artist Sam Keller creates playful works centered around his interest in twisting new narratives from everyday objects. He transforms a flattened Coca-Cola or La Croix can into a beautiful gleaming object coated in Swarovski crystals and sculpts giant Cheetos in hollow spheres and small stacks. Each work sheds light on consumption and capitalism’s grip on society. “My use of unpreserved junk foods I’m hoping should prompt a re-examination of the foods we decide to consume as well,” the artist shares. “For the record, I stopped eating Cheetos years ago.”
While growing up in Brooklyn, Keller was drawn to the environment surrounding him, often finding and collecting objects from the streets, which still informs his work today. “My teenage bedroom was decorated with advertisements I removed from subway cars, a satellite dish that I painted on, and once to my parent’s dismay, I even brought home a toppled parking meter,” Keller tells Colossal. Today, he sources many smashed cans from discarded waste around him and decorates them in colorful crystals.
The artist studied painting at the Rhode Island School of Design and focused on drawing found objects, food, and “off-shoot materials for their built-in language and cultural significance.” Except for high-end glass, many of the items he uses are relatively common. “It only takes two large bags (of Cheetos) to make a ‘Cheetosphere’ sculpture, so from a practical standpoint, a vitrine to protect one of those is the most expensive component,” he explains.“I’m always looking for new objects and materials to incorporate into my practice while continuing to evolve my existing ideas and interests. I feel like I’m chasing an indescribable vision in my mind, and I’ll only know when I get there.”
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