1. Close of drawing of the Mona Lisa, made of cardboard at Susan Applewhite's living room
2. Wide of Applewhite cutting cardboard in her living room
3. Various of Applewhite cutting cardboard with box cutter
4. Wide of Applewhite putting trefoil-shaped cardboard on the floor
5. Applewhite placing works of cardboard on the make-shift atelier she established at her house
6. Various of Applewhite painting cardboard trefoil with green paint
7. SOUNDBITE (Spanish) Susan Applewhite, urban artist:
"I believe that (my work consists of) giving a touch of beauty to the city inside something that is abandoned, inside a structure that is abandoned, destroyed... that could be seen as decadent. It's to transform it a little bit and give it a little bit of light, to let it shine, a little bit of beauty - which is the function of decoration. But the bottom line of my work is to give a message and make people a little happy. To distract them."
Caracas - 5 November 2020
8. Close of trefoil and other works of art made by Susan Applewhite on the back seat of her car while she drives
9. Applewhite driving her truck. UPSOUND (Spanish) Susan Applewhite " There it is!" (Spotting the broken billboard where she will hang one of her works of art)
10. Pan from Applewhite getting out of her car to the broken billboard at vandalized bus stop where she'll hang the green trefoil
11. Applewhite walking towards the broken billboard carrying the green trefoil
12. Various of Applewhite tying up nylon to the bottom bar of the empty frame of the broken billboard
13. Wide of Applewhite hanging trefoil at broken billboard
14. Close of Applewhite hanging trefoil. Her signature "Applewhite. 2020" is written with black marker at the bottom of the trefoil
15. Various of trefoil hanging on the broken billboard
A Venezuelan visual artist is seeking to bring a touch of beauty to abandoned and damaged public spaces in Caracas, a South American city plunged into poverty and chaos after decades of neglect.
The billboards of vandalized bus stops in Venezuela's capital - which no one seeks to fix due to the lack of investment to attract potential advertisers - have become a gallery of sorts for painter Susan Applewhite, who hangs her works in the hope of awakening emotions and give instant joy while evading the harsh reality of the surroundings.
At the makeshift atelier she installed in the driveway of her family's house, Applewhite paints the shapes of various objects made of recycled cardboard that will soon belong in the street.
"It's to transform it a little bit and give it a little bit of light, to let it shine, a little bit of beauty - which is the function of decoration," says the 44-year-old of her urban art project.
"But the bottom line of my work is to give a message and make people a little happy. To distract them."
Applewhite also notes that her works conveys the metaphor that those materials that end up in the garbage can be reused to bring hope and beauty.
It carries the message that it is possible to look beyond the situation in a city overwhelmed by rising crime, high inflation, poverty and a general deterioration of public infrastructure.
The use of bus stops, mostly in ruins, as her display spaces is no accident.
These structures lost their shine and symbolize the remains of a civic order left in oblivion due to disrespect for the laws, many times in the face of the complicit gaze of the authorities, she says.
Her works attempt to beautify the vandalized billboards and make public bus stops more pleasant for commuters.