Tropicalia by Ben Orozco

Tropicala Thumbnail Image

MEDIUM: Video, 3D

Video documentation of the neon art installation “Tropicalia.” The installation addresses the background and environments of the artist, creating a lexicon of leafy forms in works of neon and paper.

The environment where I grew up in South Miami, Florida left an impact on me as a child, surrounded by towering philodendrons, birds of paradise, banana plants, and luscious overgrowth. As I grew older and eventually moved to the midwest, my memories of the environment became graphic in the way that images become graphic. Tropical foliage that I once clearly remembered began to lose facets of detail and simplify to a language of simple outlines. Eventually my memories of home became an abstract sensation rather than a concrete image–tropicalia. Neon follows the same graphic process that our memories often do, simplifying images and ideas down to their essential components. Photographic images turn into simplified outlines of glass and light. The outlines made in neon look vastly different than the original image represented, yet we still understand the message and feeling that the glowing forms provide us with. There’s a magical act that happens when a story is told graphically through neon; every contour of glass gets to tell a story of its own.