Breaking News
More () »

Artist turns trash into treasure to tell stories of struggle

“A deeper look into the souls, the actual souls of the shoes. S-O-U-L,” St. Louis native Brandon Chavis explained.

ST. LOUIS — Artist Brandon Chavis grew up in north St. Louis. He uses his unique style to show people the struggles of Black St. Louisans, taking discarded objects that he finds and turning them into works of art.

“This is a lot of me pulling over on the side of road and picking something up,” Chavis told 5 On Your Side.

He describes finding treasure in another’s person trash a “strange process.” But he gives those findings a new and extended life.

“Recreated in my art and live on the walls of someone’s house forever,” he said.

It is through his art works that Chavis tells his stories.

“It’s my voice,” he said. And that voice is currently being heard on the walls of the Angad Arts Hotel in the Grand Center neighborhood, where he has a new exhibit on display.

“The collection is called ‘walk in our shoes,’” he said.

Chavis used pieces of old sneakers, jeans, an undershirt and an American Flag given to him by friends to demonstrate a moment in their lives.

“Each piece to me represents an avatar of a situation that someone been in in the Black culture. Time stamping their struggle into a painting,” he said.

He wants to work to communicate a deep meaning of Black America to the observer.

“A deeper look into the souls, the actual souls of the shoes. S-O-U-L,” he explained.

Chavis said as he works, the soul of the soles speak to him.

“Very emotional. Touch things and almost feel or see a person’s journey. Some nights I’m laughing with materials. Sometimes I’m crying cause I’m receiving messages through it,” he explained.

Chavis hopes to take those messages and inspire change in the world.

“Hoping to heal people as I go,” he said.

The effort is reminiscent of a quote by Angad Paul that reads, “What is art, but seeing the world in a different way... and what is life, but series of experiences connected together."

“I feel like we all have a piece of the puzzle,” Chavis said.

Chavis’ art work will be on display at the Angad Arts Hotel until May 29.

Before You Leave, Check This Out