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Signal Hill artist transforms discarded metal into sci-fi characters

January 10th, 2014 · No Comments · Culture, Imitating Life

Andres Alarcon

Andres Alarcon

Cory Bilicko
Managing Editor

Nineteen-year-old Signal Hill resident Andres Alarcon takes everyday metal objects and converts them into easily recognizable and intriguing human (or humanoid) forms, but it’s his imaginative, artistic vision that enables him to make pieces that transcend the art of repurposing. It’s not just that he possesses mastery of recycling items and scrap pieces, and it’s not simply that he has a strong vision– he’s really good at selecting items and transforming them into something completely different.
For example, at first glance, what you see is a metallic scorpion– but blink, and then you realize you’re actually looking at a bent fork and some floral wire.

“Tribute to Muhammad Ali,” various metals and hardware

“Tribute to Muhammad Ali,” various metals and hardware


Born in Long Beach, Alarcon, an only child, said he built many of his toys. He later attended high school in La Mirada. “In high school, I learned welding, when I was switching from middle school,” he said. “I saw a torch. Somebody was using a torch, and I was like, ‘I’m doing that.’”
After high school, he moved to Signal Hill and attended Long Beach City College, where he took another welding course. It was there that epiphany struck– that he could make artwork out of the metal pieces around him.

“Stretch,” “Mr. Roboto” and “Salvage,” all made with various metals and hardware

“Stretch,” “Mr. Roboto” and “Salvage,” all made with various metals and hardware


One of the fun aspects of viewing his work is the discovery of the various components he incorporates into it: washers, screws, bolts, nuts, springs, hinges. “Everybody has that drawer with all the nuts and screws in it, and they don’t know what to do with it,” he said. “I just clean it out.”
Alarcon doesn’t seek to communicate a profound meaning with his work; he’s engaged in it purely for its aesthetic value.
“I like doing it,” he said. “I don’t have to have any meaning behind it. Everybody has to have art with meaning, and people always ask [about the meaning]. I just did it because it looked nice.”

To view more of Alarcon’s work, visit andsfactory.com .

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