Parque de las Botellas

by Michelle Hernandez Vega
Designed & Published by Secret Riso Club

Riso printed interior with cutouts
120 pages
Spiral Bound

2024 NYC

Parque de Las Botellas is a private man-made park and a cherished haven during the artists’ childhood vists to her family’s hometown of Quebradillas, Puerto Rico.

Translated as "Bottle Park" in English, its name pays homage to the myriad structures crafted from recycled bottles. Constructed in the early 1980s, it stood as a testament to oddball island aesthetic, creativity and resourcefulness until the ravages of hurricanes led to its closure in the 2010s.

Rediscovering this beloved sanctuary through the lens of Google Maps,  the artist was confronted with its dilapidated state—a haunting echo of its former glory.  Amidst failed attempts at restoration, a digital community emerged, chronicling its past through a Facebook page and a couple YouTube videos, serving as a wellspring of archival imagery for this book.
“For me, "Parque De Las Botellas" symbolizes more than just a childhood playground; it embodies the essence of my connection to Puerto Rico. Its imperfect beauty, steeped in familial lore and collective memory, evokes a sense of pride and nostalgia that transcends its physical boundaries.

Though little known beyond Quebradillas, its influence on me has been profound. Like a cherished heirloom, I've carried its memory into adulthood, shaping my art and igniting a desire to recapture the essence of youthful exploration I experienced there.
Originally conceived as a video project (still in the works), the transition to a book format felt natural—a tangible homage to the whimsy and wonder of childhood. I built a large diorama, a reimagining of the park, to fill in for what I lacked in evidence. I wanted to make a book that would reignite the joy of discovery through tactile engagement and interactive elements: weaving graphics, colors, riso and cutouts all contributing to a sense of playful nostalgia. Parque de Las Botellas is my return to Oz, where the ordinary transforms into the extraordinary with each turn of the page.” - Michelle Hernandez Vega

︎︎︎Listen to Parque De Las Botellas Playlist: