I was introduced to the work of Arizona artist Alexi Devilliers yesterday when we visited the Phoenix Children’s Museum. Devilliers’ art pieces are created from tin cans. Devilliers uses the can’s contents to make meals for homeless people and then turns the cans into tin sculptures. He buys the food at a discount grocery which sells dented cans.
Devilliers, a commercial maintenance engineer is of Cuban descent. He was born in New York and grew up in Florida. He learned to cook from his mother.
Every Saturday he and his wife get up at 5:00 am and prepare between 100 and 150 meals for homeless people in Phoenix. Later in the day Alexi packs the meals into his van and goes to various homeless centres in the city to distribute the food. An article in The Arizona Republic reports that he works particularly closely with Justa Center, a day-resource program in Phoenix for people over 55. The center helps them find housing, medical help and employment. Using the cans from the food he’s purchased he makes sculptures of animals, robots and other creatures. He sells them and uses the proceeds to buy more food for the homeless. 25 cans typically create two sculptures which can be sold to buy food to make 100 meals. In an interview for the PBS show Art Beat Alexi says that each can in his art work has a story behind it. “Every single one of them either fed an elderly homeless person or a battered woman at the shelter.” Alexi began his project four years ago when he noticed how many homeless people were near his home in Phoenix. Alexi says he is trying with his art to “alleviate some of the tragedy in these people’s lives.”
Other posts about art and Phoenix……