Robert Larson uses discarded cigarettes packaging, matchbooks, and rolling papers to create his compositions. Somewhat reminiscent of Tom Fruin’s drug baggies, the artist creates abstract patterns from smoking paraphernalia, and turns the ugly and destructive act of smoking into something unexpectedly beautiful.

Larson finds the materials by scavenging neighbourhoods in Santa Cruz, where he lives and works. There’s an interesting play between personal and impersonal in his work. The consistent grid of the items, be it shiny packaging or used matches, gives a sense of the systemic nature of urban life, while their individual treatment – worn by weather or use – sustains a sense of individual experience.

Robert_Larson_Interchange_2013 CES_Contemporary_Robert_Larson_Gold_Honey1 RobLarson_Passage Robert_Larson_Red_Honey_2013 meditatons_on_top_sm1 CES_Contemporary_Robert_Larson_Red_Tessellation1 BasicStripes1 CES_Contemporary_Robert_Larson_Quantum_Marlboro_20131 Green_Triangles_19.5x151 CES_Contemporary_Robert_Larson_Bloom_1000 00RobertLarson_Green_Flower_On_Gold1Cigarettes are rarely if ever associated with beauty, at least in our moment. Certainly in the past they were glamourized, but happily, people are beginning to see quite clearly their highly detrimental effect. Still, they maintain a heavy presence, and it’s exciting to see something positive come out of a predominantly negative thing. Larson’s compositions are surprisingly colourful and dynamic. He has a good eye for placement, as in the Marlboro packaging where he distributes the various tones of grey-brown wear to radiate outwards from the middle of the work. His pieces are mostly quite large, reaching over six feet. It makes me wonder how long it would take him to collect his materials, which could give him some understanding of the smoking population of each neighbourhood he collects from.

Robert Larson Turns The Ugly & Destructive Act Of Smoking Cigarettes Into Something Unexpectedly Beautiful appeared first on Beautiful/Decay Artist & Design.