A similarly hued art installation in east Las Vegas was built for considerably less.
“Seven Magic Tires,” created by Las Vegas artists Justin Favela and Ramiro Gomez, substitutes piles of tires for hefty boulders to create the scale model.
While working on their art show “Sorry for the Mess” at the Marjorie Barrick Museum of Art at UNLV, Gomez spotted a painted stack of tires at an eastside tire shop.
“Ramiro had taken a photo of a stack at a tire shop,” Favela says. “He was going to make a painting of the tires as ‘Seven Magic Mountains,’ and I said, ‘Why don’t we just create it as an installation and put it in the show?’ ”
A friend who works at a nearby shop provided tires that were set to be recycled, and Favela and Gomez stacked and painted them to resemble Ugo Rondinone’s “Mountains.”
After the Barrick Museum exhibition, Favela took the tire stacks outside to be photographed.
Rather than pose his works in the desert, where he usually shoots his large-scale works, he thought they’d fit better back home, on the eastside.
“I grew up there. That’s where we got the tires,” Favela says. “I was making my own version for the eastside.”
He installed the stacks in an empty lot at 1000 N. Nellis Blvd. facing Sunrise Mountain.
“We were going to ask if we could keep it there,” Favela says. “Then the people with a ceviche food truck who rent the lot asked if I could leave it there with them.”
While Favela admires Rondinone’s work, which stands off Interstate 15 south of Las Vegas, he says it’s an example of public art that isn’t always accessible.
“People work really hard here in Las Vegas, especially in the eastside,” he says. “Some people don’t have time to go out there just for fun.”
Rather than just a spoof on the original, Favela says the piece is a critique of public space and who owns it.
“It makes a really strong statement about being proud of where you’re from,” Favela says. “Having a small tire version in your backyard, it’s a nice consolation.”