The ‘Valley Of Secret Values’ is located kilometers away from any populated area in Lime, Oregon. It was created by Los Angeles-based artist Thrashbird. Out of long-lost buildings of the power plant, he creates recognizable silhouettes of the designer handbags. Almost faded giant boulders are spray painted with recognizable stencils and decorated with found materials.
This idea was born when he was on a painting expedition in that area: ‘I came across a maze of giant broken concrete monoliths staggered about the grounds at this abandoned concrete plant.
The shapes of them with the tops crumbling away was a visually arresting site. As I walked thru them and took them in, the thought came to me that they resembled giant concrete handbags. As I left that day I couldn’t shake the images of these things dressed up as designer bags from my head. To see them crumbling with the passage of time returning to the earth as a dust, the metaphor was too strong to disregard.’
Thrashbird explains further: ‘As much as I want to create beautiful affirming art, there is a need or as I think of it an obligation as an artist to use your voice to say something with your work. This duality within me is really where the idea took shape in my mind.
This project is part cautionary tale, part beautification project, and very introspective for me personally. It highlights my own personal struggle with ego and grandiosity, hence the scale of it.
We grapple for status and purpose in society. Consuming possessions to showcase how successful we are and fill us with purpose, with complete disregard for the people and the planet affected by our careless over consumption of ephemeral consumer goods. Our measure of success has been skewed. We have come to a place in society where things and social status have become more important than our connection to each other.’