SOUTHINGTON – Local artist Stephanie Hongo, who creates animal sculptures from recycled materials, was recently featured in People Magazine.
Hongo began crafting her sculptures, which are mostly created with plastic trash materials, in 2017. She has since created more than 160 sculptures, one of which was displayed near the Page Park pool in Bristol last year.
Hongo has also gained a significant fan base on Instagram, with more than 23,900 people following her work. She was featured in a May 18 article on People.com and in their print magazine.
“They reached out to me around the end of November or early December of last year,” she said. “My brother Shane Norton, who works at ESPN, did the photos. It’s awesome to be featured in People magazine and super exciting. Most of their articles don’t cover art so much as human interest stories. It’s cool that my art will reach people that wouldn’t normally see it.”
Hongo said that she was influenced by the artist “Bordallo II” on Instagram, who creates murals using recycled materials. Hongo’s works include a variety of animals, including a lion, an elk, an octopus, a seahorse and a bison to name a few.
“One of the first pieces I made, which I felt really connected to, was a blue deer that I named Yondu after a character from Guardians of the Galaxy,” she said. “I really enjoy the ‘bio-mechanical’ aesthetic that sculpting with these materials creates. I’ve recently created a Texas longhorn and an octopus that I’m really proud of.”
Hongo said she is grateful for the “outpouring of support” that she has received.
“I’ve been able to sell my pieces almost immediately, which allows me to make the art that I want to make and stop taking commissions,” she said.
Hongo studied a variety of mediums at Western Connecticut State University, graduating with a major in illustration. She has held a lifelong passion for art.
“I’ve always had a natural ability to do it and people like doing what they’re good at,” she said. “My parents encouraged me from a young age and had me take art lessons.”
Going forward, Hongo said that she wants to create more large pieces and hopes to display them in galleries.
Hongo’s artwork can be found @sugarfox_art on Instagram and at sugarfox.net. She encouraged those interested in purchasing her art to message her on Instagram.
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or firstname.lastname@example.org.