This design by Joshua Veasey combines various knotting techniques. See more of Veasey's work at Dunedin Fine Art Center's Wearable Art show on Aug. 13.
DUNEDIN – Is it an art exhibit? Is it a fashion presentation? It’s both … and neither. What’s undeniable is that it has become one of the most anticipated artistic events in the community.
The seventh annual Wearable ART Fashion Show will be Saturday, Aug. 13, 7:30 p.m., at the Dunedin Fine Art Center, 1143 Michigan Blvd.
Tickets are $15 general admission with reserved seating priced at $35 and $75. Call 298-3322 or visit www.dfac.org.
As in the past, this year’s Wearable ART Fashion Show promises to showcase artists who utilize a wide range of base materials – from traditional fabric to paper and metal – and who push the envelope on the concept of clothing.
“Most of the artists in the show are not fashion designers but artists who are pushing their own limits by working in new media or media they’re familiar with but new to human form,” said Kaya Jill, the founder of the event, in an interview. Jill also is associate curator of exhibitions and special events director at DFAC.
In Wearable ART, the view that form should follow function is thrown out the window. Past shows have generated a growing amount of attention locally in nationally.
“I receive many inquiries about the show, however I chose the most interesting and creative proposals,” Jill said. “This year’s show features designs by seven new and one returning artist.”
The returning artist, Rogerio Martins, is a show favorite. Martins used raw meat as a body adornment at one of the Wearable ART shows.
Martins, a Brazilian fashion designer and a mixed-media artist, is known for his unique wearable art and fashion creations inspired by the feminine existence, nature and the use of unusual fabrics and materials. He has a bachelor of fine arts from International Academy of Design and Technology. His creations have been exhibited in museums and venues such as DFAC, Tampa Fine Arts Museum, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bay Magazine, WOW – World of Wearable Art in New Zealand and on the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival in France.
A perennial crowd-pleaser, Martins is expected to present new and exciting work at this year’s show, which Jill says will be bigger than ever – even though that may seem hard to imagine.
“People have really high expectations of us and that only makes us want to make Wearable ART even better and more exciting,” she said. “We expect another sell-out and just an incredible show.”
Since its inception, the show has offered Tampa Bay area art and fashion enthusiasts a unique opportunity to catch a glimpse of the works of emerging and established Tampa Bay area designers.
“Originally, I wanted to create an event that would showcase emerging local designers and attract new audience to the art center,” Jill said. “The show grew really fast. We now have professional stage, lights, sound and video projection.”
Wearable ART was one of the first events in the area to put the spotlight on a growing contingent of local artists working in fashion related ways.
“You’re seeing more and more fashion shows now around town,” Jill said. “We consider that the greatest compliment.”
In addition to Martins’ highly anticipated contribution, this year’s event will continues the unparalleled artistic tradition. The show will feature an exciting new collaboration with local artistic legend Rocky Bridges and his wife Kathleen Bridges, as well as work by Johnny Hunt, Ivan, Monica Londoño, Kaitlyn Lynch, Leah Pecoraro and Joshua Veasey.
“When choosing artists for the show, I don’t just look for unusual and most creative,” Jill explained, “but also craftsmanship and attention to detail.”
Following is a closer look at artists new to Wearable ART this year.
Palm Harbor native Kaitlyn Lynch studied art in the International Baccalaureate Program at Palm Harbor University High School where she won a gold key in the Scholastics Art and Writing Awards. Lynch graduated in 2010 and is now a sophomore at Florida State University in Tallahassee where she is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in art history and finance.
Lynch’s work consists mostly of repurposed materials and found-object assemblages.
“My vision for these pieces was to use paper as much as possible in the place of fabric,” Lynch said in her artist statement. “Unlike textiles, paper offers structural qualities such as pleating, weaving and tearing which I wanted to display differently with each garment.”
According to Lynch, each ensemble is meant to show the various ways that paper can be manipulated to harness its fragility and strength as a medium.
“I chose to use book pages over other materials in order to repurpose and give new life to an object that would otherwise be neglected in our growing digital age.”
For her Elementa line, Leah Pecoraro combines found objects, recycled materials and rich textural fabrics to create curious wearable oddities.
A self-taught mixed media sculptor, Pecoraro’s apparel is influenced by her fine art sculptures and intricate theatrical installations. In her work, the Dunedin resident strives to mimic chaotic elements that occur in nature, both human and biological. She sees these forces as being pitted against one another each one violently trying to survive.
Born in Colombia, Monica Londoño earned an artist textile degree at Centro de Diseño Taller Cinco in Bogota, where she was taught by the Uruguayan textile artist Kela Cremasky.
Londoño works in the old technique of plain tafetán.
“We are trapped by plastic,” Londoño said in her artist statement. “At first it resolved problems – then it became the problem. I took advantage of the hand form of the glove, placed in series, to create texture and movement, creating a reflection on consumer excesses.”
In 2000, Londoño participated in the collective exposition Women In Textile Art in Miami with her piece “Desarraigada.” In 2005, she took part in the collective project for forgiveness called “Tejeser” with women displaced by the violence in Colombia. In 2006, she worked as art director of a Bogota gallery where she was featured in the solo show Woven Forms.
In 2011, Londoño participated in the show A Collaboration with Nature at the Sarasota Art Center. Her piece “Jellyfish” won first prize.
“It has been truly inspirational and liberating to be given an opportunity to present an artistic vision in Wearable ART Seven,” said Ivan in his artist statement. “It is energizing and invigorating to craft a design in collaboration with others that share the same goal and purpose.”
Ivan’s passion for painting began in Texas. His love of travel and meeting new people brought him to the Tampa Bay area where he has continued to sharpen his artistic inclination, painting realistic and abstract textures on the human form.
“I look forward to presenting our artistic creations at this cultural, eclectic and sublime event.”
An 18-year-old artist from Lakeland, Joshua Veasey is a former student of the Harrison Schools for the Arts. Veasey has studied visual art since the fourth grade. Though his interest in fashion emerged later, the presence of both elements can clearly be seen in his work.
“The work I’m producing for the Wearable ART show emulates my love for textile manipulation,” Veasey said in his artist statement. “Through use of various knotting, crochet and knitting techniques, I am able to create stunning dresses inspired by natural forms.”
Johnson Hunt is in her third year of the MFA program at the Florida State University. She received her bachelor’s degree in studio art from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va., where she studied fiber arts and art history. A recipient of the Ed Love Sculpture Award, Hunt has taken part in many successful art exhibitions such as Litterscape at the Big Bend Contemporary Gallery, Environmental Analogies at FAMU and Without Walls in Fort Pierce. She recently exhibited in Valencia, Spain in a travelling exhibition.
“Lawndry is a comment on the excessive consumerism associated with the fashion industry and the socially and ecologically irresponsible means of manufacturing clothing,” Hunt said in her artist comment. According to Hunt, the garments are made from recycled Aqua Guard (a water membrane), recyclable burlap, soil and grass. “These garments reduce the carbon footprint that accompany high couture and can be planted when no longer in style. My current body of work discusses the economic housing crisis, making the iconography of the lawn particularly significant.”
Rocky and Kathleen Bridges
Rocky Bridges is a distinguished mixed media, found-objects artist. The Tarpon Springs native began his artistic career at age 14 when he exhibited work in the student category of the 1978 Palm Harbor Fine Arts and Crafts Festival.
Since then, Bridges has gained national acclaim for his work.
Bridges is a professor of art at Lakeland’s Harrison School for the Arts. He formerly served as an adjunct professor of art at St. Petersburg College and the University of South Florida. He has been awarded a number of fellowships and grants for his work.
Bridges’ work has been exhibited at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. His entry in Wearable ART will be a collaboration with his wife, Kathleen.
The seventh annual Wearable ART Fashion Show will get underway Saturday, Aug. 13, 7:30 p.m.
“We have a pre-party starting at 7:30,” Jill said. “The runway show starts at 9 p.m., and the after-party will follow. This year’s after-party featured band is The Lambasters.”
The Lambasters are a new band featuring Nervous Turkey veterans Ernie Locke and Aaron Fowler as well as Josh Nelms from The Legendary JC’s.
“The show sells out every year so it’s a good idea to get your tickets ahead of time,” Jill said.
For information about Wearable ART, call 298-3322 or visit www.dfac.org.