PLAY IS AN IMPORTANT PART IN ONE’S EARLY LIFE; IT IS A CRITICAL SET OF MOMENTS WHERE THE CHILD GETS TO ACCESS IMAGINATION AND FUN, AS WELL AS THE STATES OF HAPPINESS, FRUSTRATION, LAUGHTER, JOY, AND FREEDOM. UNFORTUNATELY NOT ALL CHILDREN GET TO EXPERIENCE THE NOTION OF PLAY. HOWEVER, THE DESIRE TO PLAY NEVER GOES AWAY; PLAYING IS AS NATURAL AND EMBEDDED IN HUMANITY AS BREATHING IS ESSENTIAL TO LIFE. THE “TOYBOX COLLECTION” IS AN EXPRESSION OF THIS CONSTANT DESIRE TO PLAY, REFLECTING THE IMAGE TO THE VIEWER, INVITING THEM TO RECONNECT AND LIVE ONCE AGAIN THE GREAT MOMENTS OF PLAY.
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ABOUT THE ARTIST
Valerie Carmet is a French-American Pop Art assemblage artist and art educator based between Miami and NYC. She was born in France and moved to the United States in 1989 where she worked in the New York’s fashion scene. Her mathematical instincts and her skills led her to start her artistic path in 1995 with the creation of intricate mosaics.
In 1998, she honed her skills at the Anandamali Studio in New York City where she created several mosaic murals and picassiette furniture and in 2004, she graduated from The Mosaic Art School (Italy). She taught in several art programs of NYC public schools and in 2004 was selected to be part of the Children’s Museum of Art workshops.
In 2013, Valerie Carmet started her signature series the ToyBox Collection, composed of complex and meticulous sculptures made of recycled toys. What started with the abandoned toys of her children, is now a way for her to upcycled discarded toys. She sources some of her material by picking up lost plastic toys on the Miami beaches where she has been living since 2020.
In the tradition of Dada and Pop art, the ToyBox Collection explores the boundary between art and the everyday world. Carmet gives a new significance to supposedly innocent toys, turning them into sulfurous and cheeky artworks.
Using collective imagery linked to the formative years of our childhood, Carmet’s artworks divulge their depth only with a closer look. The artist addresses in a playful way, some of our society's sensitive and controversial issues such as overconsumption, body representation, gun violence, war, gender equality, mental health and sexual freedom.
She has been exhibited in group shows and major art fairs worldwide for the past 20 years. She is represented by galleries in the United States, Europe, Asia and South America.
"Whenever you see a toy from your childhood, it usually brings a sense of happiness and glee that somehow overcomes you the minute you set eyes on this childish item. Inspired by that feeling, I create pieces where I can use toys, especially recycled ones, and morph them into creations to touch the viewer in a playful manner. My goal is for anyone of any age, race, gender or socio-economic background to feel playful again. I want them to reflect on those happy, judgment free, childhood feelings.
On the other hand, I also want the viewer to pause on the double entendre of toys that may sometimes seem so innocent, yet may have had a deep effect on how we grew up into adulthood (Barbies, Toy Soldiers, Toy guns to name just a few). I hope my pieces remind us all how to remain youthful and help open our hearts to a more inclusive world."