Imagine That! Fun facts about Antonia Perez’s “Estas en tu Casa (This is your home)”

Imagine That! Fun facts about Antonia Perez’s “Estas en tu Casa (This is your home)”

Plastic is everywhere, but have you ever imagined it as a piece of art? Visual artist, Antonia Perez has done just that by crocheting plastic bags to form colorful and delicate works. In our current exhibition, Txt: art, language, media, Perez’s ‘Estas en tu Casa (This is your home),” explores the meaning of home with the one material you can find in virtually any home across the world: plastic. We spoke with Perez and discovered where she collects her plastic bags (hint: she may ask you for a bag if she ever passes your way), the physical challenges of working with almost 1,000 plastic bags and more. Imagine that! 

Antonia can never get enough plastic bags

Antonia Perez Studio. Image Courtesy of Artist

“I’ve been collecting plastic bags for a long time mostly because I just didn’t want to throw them away. In 2004 I realized I had too many. I sorted them by color and I came up with a full rainbow. That’s when I decided to use them for my artwork. In this piece there are somewhere between 800 and 1,000 plastic bags. Everybody I know saves bags for me. Some of the bags come from England, France, Mexico and Vietnam. Sometimes I will see someone on the street with a bag in a color I want. I will just go up and ask them for the bag and they usually give it to me.”  

Rest is crucial when crocheting plastic

Antonia Perez making a piece at Cuchifritos Gallery
Image Courtesy of Artist

“I never heard of anyone crocheting bags and I taught myself how to do it. I experimented with how to cut them into strips and through this process I figured out how wide each strip should be depending on thickness of the plastic. This piece from first concept on paper to the actual finish was six months and I crocheted it all myself. The process doesn’t hurt the fingers but it can be tiring for your joints. When I complete a project like this I take a couple months off just to rest up my shoulders.”

Home is where the plastic is

“’Estas en tu Casa’” is a colloquial phrase and it has multiple interpretations. The literal translation is: you are in your home. But the way it is used when coming to someone’s house means make yourself feel at home. When I visit my relatives in Mexico they say this meaning for me to be comfortable, and respect their home like it’s my own home. I want children to see this and recognize the Museum and Sugar Hill neighborhood is their home.”

Antonia Perez Estas En Tu Casa (This Is Your Home) 2015

Repurposing plastic means taking care of home (earth)

“Plastic bags are an environmental blight. I want people to think of how they use plastic bags and how the earth is their home and how they take care of it. In that way I want children who visit the Museum to understand the decisions they make affect their home. The idea of reusing and repurposing is something everybody can do.”

[This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity]