Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Backstage on a Runway Show

This post is the promised continuation of my last blog post about the recent wearable art runway show that I participated in. I'm sorry that it took so long but I had some technical difficulties in getting my video to upload.

Here are some backstage photos that I took as my fellow models and artists got ready to strut their stuff down the runway. I was truly in awe of all of the amazing talent that was there! Enjoy!

 Artist, Sandra Kuba, putting some last minute touches on one of her fabulous pieces.

'Untitled' by Sandra Kuba- silk and wool roving. fabric, trim and buttons

A detail of this piece. Look at all of the layers! Just beautiful!
'Untitled 2' by Sandra Kuba- asst fabrics.
Necklace, 'Midnight Fantasy' by Rachel Dugger

                                    A detail of that amazing skirt. LOVE the quilted cityscape!

'Untitled' by Barbara Stern- water bottle caps, beads, wire, bubble wrap, garbage bags, aluminum foil, paper clips, duck tape, styrofoam and paper fasteners

' My Inner Child' by Amanda Thompson - Astroturf, fabric, beads and paint

A detail of her fabulous coat. No idea how she managed to sew that stuff!
Putting the finishing touches on ' Sea Shore Evening Gown' by Veronika Koushal and Juliana Saez
 'Untitled' by Camila Gonzalez- black garbage bags, industrial Nagaland and soda can pop tops

             The back of this piece was really cool. Just loved the creativity!

Artist Sarah Buchanan puts the finishing touches on her model's makeup.

          'Untitled' by Shanley Mitchell- coffee filters

'Upon Further Inspection' by Shani Simpson- styrofoam plates, paper fasteners, tape, coffee filters, cardboard, dried beans and much much more.

'Dinner is Served' by Jackie Trufford- tablecloths, plates, silverware, wire and fabric.

Sarah Buchanan with her model. Her piece was entitled ' Natural Events' and was made using pewter, coral, bone and river grass

'Throw A Penny, Make A Wish'- hand-painted and distressed muslin, image transfers, plastic and pennies.

                           A detail of the front of my dress

The back of my dress
Here is the video that I created for this piece. Keep watching to the end because I included some footage of the runway show that a kind friend of mine took Great night!

There's also a great article that was written about it here.

I'm grateful that this project is over, but as with all creative ventures, there is a definite bittersweetness about it's finale as well. It was an amazing experience and one that I will never forget. However, I am definitely looking forward to being able to work on some new projects!

Which of the pieces is your favorite? Have you ever created a piece of clothing out of something unusual? What has been your favorite creative experience so far?

I look forward to sharing my next pieces with you soon! Have a great day everyone! <3

Saturday, February 16, 2013

A New Year, A New You

I recently attended a business lecture with Pamela Toussaint as the speaker. It was very facinating and extremely motivating. As Pamela is an image consultant, the main topic was branding, or creating your brand. I used to think of a brand as a company name or logo or something. As an artist however, my brand would be ME. This goes for anyone who is looking for a job. When you are applying to a company, you are essentially selling YOURSELF aka your BRAND. So what differentiates you from the crowd? What unique things can you bring to the table? Essentially, what is your unique value? I thought that I would take a moment to share some of the key points that were made.I found them to be inspiring and hope that they will inspire you as well.

1. You should be able to describe your brand in three words. What three words describe you? What sets you apart from everyone else with your degree or credentials?
2. The three things that a company will hire on are professionalism, high energy and self confidence. If you don't feel that you have some of these, then fake it till you make it. ;)

To create a compelling brand you must:
1. Discover what your passion is.
2. Differentiate yourself from others.
3. Engage others with similar interests.
4. Network! Most jobs aren't advertised. You often will find jobs through people that you either know or have met via networking. LinkedIn is a great networking tool!
5. Leverage. Make sure that people know about you. Speak at an event, write and article, keep a blog going, etc.
6. Evolve and stay current with new technology.
7. Create an action plan by taking steps to enhance your brand such as learning new skills. We should never be afraid or hestitant to learn, unlearn and relearn at all times.
8. Create a networking strategy:
         - Figure out a 30 second 'elevator pitch' for your brand that includes who you are, what your brand is and what you do for others.
         - Attend conferences, volunteer, networking meets, speak, host, etc

Here are some networking tips that she gave us:
         - plan ahead! research attendees if you can and figure out who you want to meet.
         - dress the part
         - arrive early. Most of the best networking happens before the doors even open.
         - do a visual self-check in a mirror beforehand and then enter the room with confidence
         - have a nice ice breaker comment
         - establish connection.( If you've researched people ahead of time then you can make this  
        connection easier as you'll know whether you have a same city, college or hobby in common.)

Part of my 2013 New Year's Resolutions is being more pro-active in my business. Pamela's advice has inspired me to reach these goals and to define my 'brand'. Have you already used some of these tips? What three words would you use to describe yourself or your brand?

Hope that this blog post has inspired you to take action as well! Have a wonderful week!!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day!!!

                                                               found on

I'd share my last cookie with you guys. Love you all!  Happy Valentine's Day!!!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Wearable Art Runway Show

For the past five weeks I have spent over 200 hours working on a project for the Armory Art Center's Fashion Artillery Show. (a wearable art runway show) The theme of the show was Daydreams and Nightscapes. As I mulled over the two I decided to go with Daydreams. Daydreaming essentially consists of a person dreaming about the things that they might wish for. You might daydream about being famous, or beautiful, or rich, etc. Once I had taken it to this point, I began to ponder the ways that we might make a wish. (blowing out candles, wishing on a shooting star, etc) In the end, I chose the act of throwing a penny in a fountain and making a wish. As I often daydream about living in a bygone era, I chose a retro look for this dress. This is how my dress, 'Throw A Penny, Make A Wish' was born.

The Armory Art Center requires that you provide them with your idea and concept sketches in order for them to accept you into the show.

My initial sketches were quite rough. I originally intended to create the piece out of photographs. ( Photographs of things that people would wish for, mixed with photos of water)
A clear plastic with pennies would create an overlay.
As I contemplated the logistics of the dress, I came up with the idea of drilling holes in pennies so that I could lace up the back. Knowing that the weight of this dress would be considerable, I also devised a possible strap option if this should be needed.
My finalized concept sketch for 'Throw A Penny, Make a Wish'
Once my design was accepted into the show, the hard part began. I had to actually MAKE this piece. I also learned something that I hadn't known before. We would be required to attend a dress rehearsal as well as actually walking this piece down a runway. Once I knew that this piece had to last through essentially TWO shows, I decided to toss my original idea of working with paper. I have both worked with and worn paper clothing in the past and I didn't feel that this medium would last through two nights. While figuring out the actual logistics of this piece, I also didn't think that there was a way to make the paper sturdy enough to hold up the weight of the pennies. So I had to do some revisions to my design and decided upon muslin as my base medium instead. I chose this because it's essentially a blank canvas. My 'wish images' would be created using image transfers and I would create the watery look that  I wanted using paints.
The finished underdress pattern in muslin.
I thought that I would be able to drape my piece on a dressform,but couldn't find a dressform to borrow or rent in time. Therefore I had to create my dress by creating a flat pattern. It was essential that the piece be VERY fitted as I wanted it to be strapless and it would be carrying quite a bit of weight with all of those pennies.  I decided to model my own dress out of necessity. I didn't have a dressform, so to ensure that it would fit correctly, I had to be my dressform. It's sort of difficult to pin a dress when it's on yourself but somehow I managed it.

                                Once I had the dress fitting snuggly enough, I dismantled it so that I could begin creating the surface painting and transfers. I had never worked with image transfers in the past so I took great care to do alot of practice runs beforehand. I used gel medium for these transfers and found it to be a rather inaccurate science. Some transfers would come out quite well and others not so much... I created a fun ombre look using acrylic paints. It was exhausting painting so much material but I enjoyed having so much control. By handpainting the piece I could be very specific about where I applied the darker blues and where I applied my green and gold tones. To help give myself a more hourglass shape, I applied darker blues at my waist and hem so that those areas would recede to the eye.
The hardest part of this project was the pennies. I had originally thought that I could sew the pennies into the plastic with my sewing machine. I sandwiched the plastic with tissue paper thinking that this would help to keep it from sticking on my machine's feeders and foot. Sadly this wasn't the case. After much trial and error I came to the rather horrifying conclusion that I would have to sew all of the plastic components by hand.  So I creating a sewing pattern with the tissue paper, mapping out all of the sewing lines like a grid and began sewing the pennies in by hand.
After I finished the bodice pieces and added the muslin drape, I worked on the 'peplum'. (again by hand)
                                                       The finished dress and peplum.
                                    My original idea of lacing up the back was kept. I had my dad drill some holes in the center of pennies so that I could lace up the back. I like the use of the pennies because it doesn't interrupt the flow of the top as traditional grommets would have.

To see some backstage photos from this show as well as some video from the runway show, stay tuned!! I'll be posting a continuation of this post tomorrow! Hope that you've enjoyed this post and have a great day!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Mrs. Potato head School of Beauty


Do you ever look around at society today and feel that our view of beauty has more in common with Mrs. Potato head than anything else? Don't like your eyes? Well just pull them out and pop in a pair that you like. Not happy with your nose? Grab one that feels better to you. The problem is that once you've touched one aspect of your face, almost always other parts fall  out of order. Now, parts of you that you were happy with, aren't satisfying you anymore. Next thing you know, you have people who can't smile and have more in common with a creepy latex horror mask than an actual human face.

                                     " Come on. You know I'm beautiful. "

It's amazing to me how something with such good intentions ( plastic surgery was originally created to help people who were severely mutilated in accidents or fires) can suddenly be twisted to the point where now many people in our society are just prettier, less stitched up, examples of Frankenstein. However, while their stitches might not be visible, there is often a rather unsettling feeling that something is off when looking at their faces.

I work in a town where people have plastic surgery and botox on a regular basis. To them, it's no different than a trip to the spa. "What did you do today?" " Well I went to a board meeting, had lunch with a friend, got a few botox injections, went to my yoga class, etc..."

                                        Looks REAL relaxing doesn't it?.

The sad thing is that all of these women have started to look alike. Without their husbands in tow, I often confuse them for each other. Herein lies my main problem with all of this. When you begin altering God's design, you begin to create a much more narrow idea of what beauty is. Beauty comes in SO many shapes and sizes, but rather than opening our mnds to all of this potential beauty, we would rather limit ourselves to the most popular or current definition of what beauty is.
Rather than encouraging women to love themselves and be content with who they are, we  encourage them to change whatever they may not like about themselves. The irony being that those around them probably liked these things about them the most. They are usually the things that made them unique. That made them memorable. Also, very rarely are these women content to just change one thing about themselves. Typically this one change leads to many more. The problem is these changes are only skin deep while the main problem goes much farther down than that.

I doubt that this will change. Rather, it will either continue to escalate to the point where no one will exist who is unchanged OR it will go drastically in the opposite direction where truly natural beauty will become in vogue. Where people's ethnic noses, thin lips, etc will be embrassed as the true ideal beauty.

What are some of your thoughts on all of this? Do you see these bodily or facial alterations as a positive thing for our society or a negative? Have you experienced any of these procedures? If so, what were your thoughts or feelings afterwards, or the thoughts or feelings of your friends or family afterwards? Do you think that art will be affected if these bodily changes become more and more in vogue? Will portraits all look quite similar when people are so similarly altered? Will artists begin seeking 'ugly' people in an effort to make their work stand out?

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Renting Art- Yea or Nay?

Back in October I read an article in the New York Times entitled "Gallerists to the People" by William Grimes. ( just goes to show you how busy I have been that I'm only NOW getting to writing this blog post on it)

This article described the latest arts venture by Alex Tryon and Scott Carleton,  whimsically entitled "Artsicle" . They are revolutionizing the art world by allowing art lovers to rent and/or purchase artwork. That's right. You can RENT artwork now. Starting at a mere $25 a month you can rent a painting and keep it for as long as you would like. If you choose to keep it, you can purchase the piece.
While the thought of having my artwork shipped all over the place gives me the sweats ( I've seen some massively abused packages in my day) this idea really excites and interests me. Galleries are often quite stuffy and escalate the cost of the artwork well beyond what the artist would typically ask for.
I myself am not a huge fan of entering most art galleries as I prefer going to art fairs where one can see the art in a less intimidating way and can even speak with the artist.

Having an online gallery is nice because you view the art at your leisure. There is even a curator that you can chat with on their website. Renting the art is an appealing idea because it allows you to experience the piece and live with it without having to actually commit to it. Art is expensive, plain and simple. It's difficult for the average person to buy original art. It's why I try to make prints available for my most of my pieces. While $25 a month might not be doable for everyone, it's definitely cheaper than purchasing an original piece of artwork outright. If you get a bonus, or come across some extra money, you can purchase the piece if you love it so much. The artist gets 50% of the rental price and 70% of the sale price, which is huge considering that most galleries generally take between 40% and even 60% of the sales. This seems like a win win for everyone involved. The artist has the possibility of earning even more money on their work as it could be rented multiple times by multiple collectors before it is actually sold. The artist can also feel a certain amount of satisfaction that their work is going to someone who has had time to truly fall in love with their piece before buying it. No impulse buys here.

I personally hope that this idea takes off with others. I believe that Artsicle, as a New York based business, is generally supporting New York based artists, so I would love to see more nationally or internationally based websites pop up with this concept. I think that it would be exciting if  art collecting went  in this direction as it makes art much more inclusive and accessible rather than exclusive and elitist.

What are some of your thoughts or feelings on this? Do you view this as a positive direction for art? Would you consider renting your artwork or renting the artwork of others? What negatives do you forsee with this?