MURAL MAKING

I have often made fun of myself and been made fun of for my mild narcissism. I blame it on many things. I think it is hard to not become narcissistic when you are a portrait artist. I have to know every detail of a person’s face when I draw them. And when there is no one to draw, the only available model is myself. I am convinced that I am the only person able to draw myself. I have had everything from carnival portraits to fellow artist classmates sketchbook entries drawn of my face, and maybe I am slightly biased, but no one has truly captured my elusive essence. And if that is not one of the most narcissistic phrases, I do not know what is. But really, only I know my face from every bone in my skull, to every crevice in my skin to every hair on my head.

It does not matter if no one knows how to draw me; what is important is that they never forget this face. And now, this is exactly what will happen. The compulsive narcissist in me is beaming from ear to ear with pride and joy to know that my face is now forever stained on the city of Richmond. I am the best stain! I got the opportunity to recreate my selfie coroquis from my fall semester drawing final. I went back to Richmond for three days to paint this mural with two of my fellow fashion classmates. The purpose of the mural is to serve as an artistic view from the ICA museum that is coming to campus soon. This mural is right on campus, next to a residence hall for VCU, so hopefully all of my friends will get the chance to see it eventually.

My classmates and I knew we wanted to do a mural depicting three fashion figures. We decided on the theme of black, white, and denim. Richmond and VCU are quite obsessed with denim so we thought it was appropriate. I would like to clarify that I was, in fact, asked to use the drawing of myself. I would have been happy to create a new drawing, but the one of myself seemed to fit the best. Just so no one truly believes I am that obsessed with myself.

I think the mural turned out so well given that it was completed in such a short timespan. My friends and I are now among the ranks of the other talented muralists within Richmond. And I can confidently say that I never would have believed that learning how to operate a hydraulic lift would become a part of my fashion education!:P

Here is an article written about our experience on the mural, please enjoy:)

https://vcu.exposure.co/painting-the-town-fashion

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FINAL COLLECTION: THE PURITY REGRESSION

Well, I have been out of school and done with my sophomore year of college for some time now. But I had a lot of other things to post before I wanted to present my final for fashion drawing. For our final, we were instructed to do either streetwear or young designer looks. We were only required to do five looks but…I drew six(I deserve to brag if I put in the time).

So this collection was extremely fun for me to design. I was thinking about what I wanted to do for streetwear. I did not want it to look like your average urban streetwear designed by some random rapper(even though I still love those collections too). I love those looks but the problem is that now, streetwear has become that dark loose silhouette of hoodies and sweat pants slightly redesigned, and amped up tee shirt graphics. I love that stuff but that is not all that streetwear is. In actuality, streetwear is simply a subculture. It is the response to a movement. So that means streetwear can incapsulate the punk movement or the mod movement. those are all styles that started out on the street and were made popular not by designers but by everyday people.

I thought about everything that was happening that would warrant a movement of some kind. And then I knew I had to do something commenting on Trump’s presidency. Not to turn anyone away from my views or my blog, but I am not a fan of Trump personally. You would probably never know by looking at my collection that it was meant as a political response if I never told you. Nevertheless, I thought about Trump’s America and the idea of a regressive movement. A response that someone who is very stuck in the ideals of America from the say the fifties would have to ideas like fluid gender roles and sexuality, shifting power dynamics between the sexes and races, and a seemingly less religion-centered society. I was also inspired by Hulu’s new adaptation of the Handmaid’s Tale. As a woman, I found that vision of a world where women have no rights as completely relevant in this age. I do not feel as though we are far off from that future. My fashion retail inspiration came from the brand, Wildfox. I love everything about this brand from the strong, vintage, Californian aesthetic that I always see present, to the relaxed fit of all of their clothing. I love how they handle an incredibly feminine vibe in such a cool and confident way. Please check them out if you are curious, https://www.wildfox.com/

My streetwear features the everyday looks of girls living in a stereotypical, suburban, pristine life. I thought about these beautiful girls who appear to be pure, perfect, God-fearing girls on the surface, but are in fact quite the opposite. Imagine a child who pretends to be one thing to their parents, and then a completely different thing without their parents present. I took inspiration from things like Catholic school uniforms and my perception of them as something that girls will try to alter for individuality in the most subtle ways. I never went to Catholic school so, as someone who always had a free and open dress code, this is just what I would do if I had to wear a uniform. So the first girl wears a knee-length skirt pulled all the way up so it looks way shorter. She also wears a sweater vest the size of a bra. Some of my girls have details like writing on their bodies and stickers everywhere, almost mimicking tattoos. And even if you look at some of the stickers, there are some hidden references that are not so innocent. All of the girls are practically dripping in flowers. The flowers seem beautiful and pure, but flowers heavily allude to sex. All of my flowers are also white referencing flowers seen at funerals. All of the other girls have some sort of visual reference to sex or the female anatomy by way of lace that forms a bra, or ribbon that outlines a woman’s chest. The last three girls all wear pants that point to their crotches in some way. The last girl was a little more interesting in that she is meant to be wearing a baby dress but instead as a crop top, accompanied by her floral headdress that resembles a baby bonnet.

I swear that I could probably write novels simply dissecting all of my choices on every collection. Everything means something else, but at the same time, you would almost never know. This collection is in no way meant to be be sexist or anti-feminist. I wanted to show a dystopian world where girls are simply expected to be perfect, little flowers and show the subtle rebellion that might arise from that subjugation. Much like with this idea I had of a Catholic girl pushing her uniform as far as she can before getting in trouble, I thought the same concept would apply if we try to make girls anything other than themselves. Please enjoy the collection and let me know what you think:)

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CROQUIS COMMISSIONS

Not quite the classic, paying commission but ordered and for commercial use all the same. I was asked to participate in an independent study for fashion illustration due to my—not to sound conceited—skills! A lot of this independent study was not fully realized as it started halfway through the second semester. But I feel accomplished all the same. I was able to complete two drawings hopefully to be used as the illustrations to go up as banners. These banners will line the streets of several fashion districts within Richmond. We hope to cement Richmond as the fashion forward city that it is. I was participating in this independent study with two other girls so we all came up with different drawings. I was asked to draw two girls. One girl was to be carrying shopping bags and the other girl was meant to be walking a dog. I do not know what the next steps for potentially seeing my girls waving in the wind as banners in some chic neighborhood would be. But for right now, they only exist here and now. Hopefully, that will mean new developments down the road!

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Have you ever seen a girl walking the dog in a jumpsuit suit and platform heels?
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No that thing on her back is not a shrub. I thought it would be a nice touch to add shopping bags coordinating to stores that actually exist in the shopping district that this girl represents. Just another way that VCU can reach out to the community I suppose!

POWER-PACKED BLACK

One of my last assignments before my final for fashion drawing was to create four looks only in black. Using only black is a challenge enough for some people! Black is difficult to make look dimensional and not just like a blob with no shadow or highlight to it. We also had to incorporate a number of different fabrics into our drawings. For me, another challenge was figuring out how to make black look dynamic and not like just another LBD! It was a great assignment because I had never thought about the shapes of light and shadow needed to convey a certain fabric. And I also loved this assignment because, for some reason, even though I love the color black and I wear it almost everyday, I usually stray away from it in my designs!

I will only be showing off two of the four of my designs because our teacher wanted us to do half of our drawings in gouache and half in marker. It is just not worth showing off the gouache ones, they are nothing special!

The first one I drew utilizes black suiting fabric for the blazer top, velvet(with grey silk lining) cape, and the star of the show, black crocodile leather. I could have easily done regular leather and that would be quite the challenge to find all the highlights and shadows within the fluid fabric, but where’s the fun in that? The crocodile leather looked so beautiful and powerful. I definitely think this girl carries quite the sex appeal in a classy strong kind of way. I would not want to mess with her!

 

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Also, many people have told me she resembles Rihanna. This was not intentional but I like the comparison because I would love it if she wore something like this(with vegan leather though)!

My second look was conceptually my favorite. I thought about different ways of showing black as more than just black. I was inspired by oil spills and the oil spill hair color trend. I thought it was such a cool concept to show black as containing a whole rainbow of colors. We think of oil as thick, gooey and sticky, but it has such a beautiful quality within it. I wanted my model to look wet like she was emerging from a pool of oil. I captured the thick yet gooey quality of oil by using a silk charmeuse material for the dress. I love how it just cascades down her body. I usually do not design a lot of evening wear, but I loved designing this gown. I wish that I could see some celebrity wearing a dress like this down the red carpet or to some fancy ball. It has a playful look while remaining classy and elegant.

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COMME DES FILLES: FINE FEATHERS—MENSWEAR COLLECTION

Although the thought of dressing the opposite gender was a daunting concept for me, it was time to spread my wings and jump out of the womenswear nest. Only then can I either fly or fall flat on my face. My class and I finally received our menswear assignment. Not only that, we were required to use men’s shirting fabric, a twill fabric(but not denim), and a wool suiting fabric.

I always hated menswear. From what I had been exposed to my entire life, men were just boring to me. There were so little options, everything looked the same and nothing was ever unique. Granted I was looking at menswear through my experiences shopping and from what I see my male friends wear. I never really looked at menswear like I do with womenswear. I look at the things women have been wearing since ancient civilizations. I know womenswear through every generation, culture, and subculture. But for some reason, I never thought to try that with men. For this assignment, I knew that if I was going to do menswear, it would not be the same things I see men wear all the time. I want the men I dress to be just as daring, experiment, unique, artistic, and confident as the women I dress.

Drawing attention back to my intro, my collection was inspired by Victoria’s Riflebirds. I saw a video of two males of this species dancing their special mating dance to attract a female bird. This dance was so amazing and beautiful to me. These birds instinctually know to move in this way to garner attention and its a legit ritual in their world. It just blew my mind watching the dance! I loved using these birds for so many reasons. The dance itself is this beautiful movement with their wings that gives them such an unusual shape, I loved the silhouette! They also do this dance to compete for the female they want and that seemed so opposite of American gender dynamics. Here and now, women must doll themselves up to compete for the man’s attention, which is most likely the cause for many of the gender inequalities we are seeing today. I thought about how backwards our society is, and how we should be taking a page from the animal kingdom from time to time. The male birds of the species also have the most gorgeous coloration of jet black feathers with a touch of vibrant, iridescent aqua blue on their chest, and of course, their grey legs. I had to use this color story for myself because it was so perfect. The fact of the male of any species being the more attractive and flamboyant is a trend in the animal kingdom. If animals know this truth so naturally, why can’t men dress bolder without having some societal expectation and judgement attached to it? Honestly, can I just be a bird? Can I just be a heron?

I also wanted to use traditional menswear as a grounding point that I could expand from. I do not hate men’s suits or ties or dress shirts. I just want to keep moving forward; I want to use those concepts as jumping points for variations. I respect that menswear is tied to tradition in many ways and I understand the reasoning psychologically, but fashion is never standing still. Womenswear is being pushed and changed everyday(sometimes cycled, but that’s a different story), so men should dress just as freely.

Let me know what you think about my fine feathered friends:)

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KNITWEAR COLLECTION: KNAUTILUS KNIT

I realized far too late that I have a fashion drawing piece that was not posted. The drawing was completely ready to post but I suppose the shift of thinking about posting to actually posting was lost in translation. But it is never too late to look at pretty clothes in a pretty drawing(bias).

The collection is called Knautilus Knit as we were assigned to complete a knitwear collection. Usually I make it a rule for myself to never purchase a winter knit in a light or pastel color because I never actually want to wear pastels in the winter. So that was the challenge for myself when designing. I knew everyone else would want to design a winter knit thus using darker colors.

I drew inspiration from an iridescent nautilus shell I saw while flipping through my magazine clippings and made that the backbone if the collection. It also made sense because I jumped in to the design process without really knowing my inspiration, and the shapes that I was coming up with were dramatic and loose, yet sculptural. I thought that the draping on some of the designs looked very shell-like. Therefore, the collection turned into a pastel beach, almost mermaid-inspired collection.

I did try to include some iridescent qualities in the makeup, but it was quite difficult with gouache.

The goal overall was to give the collection a dreamlike quality, which I think comes across nicely:)

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FASHION CRUSH FRIDAY

I recently wrote and illustrated my first article for Ink magazine here in Richmond. I am on staff with this magazine but I was finally able to contribute to their online content. I feel especially lucky that I was able to illustrate my own article as well:) The writing for this post will be fairly brief as I hope you will take the time to read the article I wrote on Ink magazine’s website. But I will post the illustration that I made to accompany the article. The article was about kpop and it’s influence on fashion. I focused specifically on the gender neutral elements present in a lot of kpop groups’ wardrobe. Please enjoy:D http://www.inkmagazinevcu.com/2017/04/07/fashion-crush-kpop/IMG_6590