Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Get Ready for Your Close Up

First reference for my selfie series- appropriately, myself
After a big show and a completed series, I usually need some time to recoup and regroup. That time is coming to a close, and now that I have had a taste for inviting the public to participate with my red carpet series, I am ready to take that idea to the next level. After engaging at a micro level with the attire in my own community of Somerville, MA, I would like to jump to opposite spectrum - the global playing field.

How do I connect with people around the world? That magic device in nearly everyone's pocket seems like a good starting point. With each series I create, I usually like to set up a few rules along with the variables. For this one the constant will be the "selfie." I am looking for submissions that follow my rules but allow for participants from all over to send me their photos. Per usual, my focus is clothing - I will naturally be drawn to subjects that will allow for some great textile integration.

I am planning on using 18" x 18" canvases - I can imagine exhibiting the completed paintings in a grid along side each other on a large wall. This parallels the way we see media on our devices.

Just like my red carpet event, I am excited for the unpredictable outcome and the likely variety of references. So extend that arm and get ready for your close up. See my submission page for rules and help share this for me!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Yellow elephants find their new purpose

When I begin my process for a painting, it is vital that I find the appropriate material to incorporate. Since I choose my subjects based on their attire it is important for me to come as close as I can in replicating the fabric. In fact, there are many pieces that have never come into fruition because I couldn't find the right match.

For my next painting, the stars aligned when one of my red carpet subjects and fellow artist in my studio building saw I was wanting to paint her next. She assured me it would be a difficult fabric to match as it was a homemade dress with vintage material, but offered to look for any remnants. I could see she was doubtful. Miraculously, from the depths of a childhood closet, a scrap of yellow elephant fabric just large enough found its way to my studio. Thank you Marrisa and her expert-seamstress mother for helping me transform a forgotten square of lil elephants into art.

Friday, June 7, 2013

A search for random variables

A couple weeks ago I held an open call for subjects in a local and colorful outdoor square in search of a true random sampling of street fashion. Part of the allure of my theme of dress is the limitless variation and unpredictability. Many sociologists have attempted to study fashion in a mathematical sense, but there are simply too many variables to consider. The same shirt could be worn in a double xxl on a shorter person and give a completely different look than a xs on someone tall . Or take the painting I did of a guy wearing a red sox shirt, rolled up to expose his mid-drift - quite a different look than if it were worn regularly.

My experiment proved to be fruitful and full of variance. I walked away with over twenty subjects that posed for me in an array of clothing types, styles and colors. Each served a different function whether it be a professional uniform, a showcase for sports enthusiasm, a brand to show status or workout gear. Basically, I have my work cut out for me. Lots of subjects and ideas for paintings. I hope to create as many as I can before I host my first outdoor solo show in October - in the same square that I found my subjects. Stay tuned!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Waiting for Spring

Red, White and Blue
I, like many Bostonians are getting impatient waiting for Spring this year. At 35 degrees - it is just not cutting it. Not only do I personally enjoy walking in the warm sun while the birds sing, but I also look forward to the change of wardrobes on the street. There is an especially magic moment that happens on those first beautiful days when people seem to wear their most exciting outfits. Maybe they are the ones they have been longing to wear since last year, or it could be a new fashion trend that they bought in January when the stores told them it was the right time to buy it. Whatever the reason, I have noticed that when the new warmth blankets the city, I see more and more potential subjects all around me.

This year I am excited to be working with the city of Somerville on a project that will encourage people on the street to volunteer to be my subjects - still in the early planning stages, more details to come. I am hoping to start this new method of recruitment in the next month or so while the spring fashion is in high bloom.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Rules of Rebellion

I read an interesting take on the evaluation of apparel among subcultures. It was written in the 90's but the interpretation still seems to apply. Even the rebellious have their own rules to follow and in many cases are attempting to conform in their own way. A biker should be clad in their black leather jacket, a punk rocker must choose the right genre of band tee paired with appropriately unique stockings. As I am not a member of these groups, I may not have it exactly right - but those who seek to be a part of these subcultures seem to all know the rules. Especially with so many social outlets - it must enable the dictation of these standards to laid out clearer.

Youth are often the ones who adopt these subculture rules in attempt to find their niche in an environment that is ever evolving and uncertain. I remember when I was in high school there was an outbreak of cat ears - it seemed all at once each quite, mysterious, quirky girl came in wearing these. Separate at first, now they had an immediate identifier that they were in the same social group.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

More than a feeling?

I recently did an interview with SCAT - which was wonderful, very receptive, great conversation flow. But at one point it was that brought up that I could be perceived as anti-consumerism. I didn't protest it at the moment, but it got me thinking. My stance is try to just be an observer, not a dictator of opinion for or against the perceptions we have. However, how do I personally feel about fashion? I think wearing a complementary outfit can give you an empowering, feel-good sensation. I think consumerism is important, clothing has the potential to bring out the best in you. It is that power, along with the other side effects that keep my interest.

But this topic is far from a black and white answer like that. I know that for some, getting dressed in the morning could be the hardest part of their day. There are those who are overwhelmed by the need to keep up on the latest fashions, sometimes driven to debt. There are others who are not allowed to express themselves via religious or social bindings. Not to mention, there is the ongoing pressure of body image to fit into the clothing correctly. In the end it is the feelings of the  individual and those of the onlookers that interest me more than my own opinions on fashion, but I do want to state for the record that my motives are not to bring down the department stores and return to hand woven attire - I tried that once, it was very time consuming!

What does fashion mean to you?