“You either make the decision to do art,
or you don’t, and then you act accordingly.”
The argentine artist Augusto Esquivel (born in 1976 in Buenos Aires) makes life sized and three dimensional sculptures out of buttons. He is based in Miami and composes sculptures of hundreds to thousands of buttons hanged by wires. From balloons to music instruments like a piano or a harp, to a candy store or the Mona Lisa you can find any theme in the artworks form August Esquivel.
He works with uncertainties and in different stages. First he sees an object which catches his attention, like an extinguisher or a fire hydrant and then he has to figure out how it will look good made out of buttons. The buttons are made out of plastic, metal or pearl, have two or four holes and different sizes and shapes. He sprays the buttons himself, choosing out of more than 250 colors, to ensure that they are perfect because they should look like they were made like this. After that he must make an acrylic box with a grid for hundreds of different lengths wires onto which he will hang the buttons. You can imagine how time consuming hanging each button must be.
Esquivel chose the buttons because he likes to work with the idea of using an object designed for one special purpose and using it for something completely different. He compares it with humans and how we underestimate the things we can achieve when we come together. In his artworks, every button which seems insignificant on its own, plays its own role on a bigger picture. The artist realized “how insignificant and small a simple sewing button can be as it lays in my grandmother’s sewing box, but at the same time how unique and precious it can become as part of a work of art. Like an atom in a molecule, each button serves and shapes the whole. I hold the button to my ear and it whispers to me, ‘I want to be…’”
He sees his artworks as hard work, but childish and innocent at the same time. He wants a relaxed environment where he can make the viewers smile. His sculptures don’t have a primary purpose, they should make their buyer happy and remind them of their childhood.
I saw his artworks in a gallery in Miami and I was very impressed with the precision the sculptures are made. At first you don’t realize that they are made of buttons, you have to get closer to see the material being used. It is very refreshing to see the artist himself saying that the artworks don’t have a primary purpose and that they should just bring happiness. At the same time, you can see how much work he puts into each sculpture. They invite you to touch and interact with a solid looking object as it gets divided into many small objects. The artworks can also be in motion, depending on the air movement around it. I definitely felt happy and had a smile in my face when I looked at his sculptures and I was very impressed by the creativity and variety from the artist and recommend you to go and check them out.