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Thank a Teacher : The Crucified Luke Skywalker Story

6 Jul


bracelet

I believe in acknowledging & appreciating the journey it takes to get to this day in my life. Today I saw a Facebook post about my old Metals professor Rachelle Thiewes, who is retiring from my undergrad alma mater, the University of Texas at El Paso. I am so grateful for her effect on my creative life.

My first personal-statement-art-work I made was in a metalsmithing class circa 1989-90ish. The assignment was to use anodized titanium in a piece. I wanted to do something really radical; I was going to make a “gay” piece. I was just accepting myself as gay and influenced by the AIDS crisis which had hit with friends and family. My titanium piece was a cross made out of pink triangles (very Silence=Death) that I crucified a Luke Skywalker figure upon (my symbol for childhood, identity, masculinity, etc).

In all honesty, the piece came out a bit shoddy. It was hard to get titanium to turn pink evenly and my Luke Skywalker was my readymade, and just didn’t fit quite well. Critique time came & I was nervous. This was my big art-school coming out moment, although I was already “out”, I hadn’t really incorporated it so blatantly in my art work & 99% of my classes were straights. Ok, it was only about 12 other students but I felt very vulnerable (obviously because I still remember this 25 years later). What happened was I didn’t say much about the piece… I wussed out. What also happened was that my professor, Rachelle Thiewes, made some sort of acknowledgement that she “got it”. I don’t remember what, but I remember feeling relieved, happy & empowered that I was able to communicate my message.

I had some truly great instructors at UTEP who went above & beyond the requirements of an average education (like my painting prof. Jim Quinnan- shout out), but Rachelle and I became friends & keep in contact. A few years back she even invited me to speak to her class a few times. I was able to share how art is still part of my life even if it’s not in a gallery. To give a talk at my alma mater has been a great symbol of achievement & gratitude in my life.

Rachelle’s influence on me in art school was impactful. She was the first person I knew to actually wear cool designers like Besty Johnson (which was big time in 1990 El Paso), and to be an “adult” with pink hair made her all the more cool. Her art is not only beautiful, it’s absolutely brilliant… & wearable. Today I thank my teacher Rachelle Thiewes & wish her well in retirement.

Take a look at a recent article on her:

http://theartave.com/?p=3943&fb_action_ids=10203135489087192&fb_action_types=og.likes

Rachelle

Arianne talks Hedwig!

25 Apr

 

A great article on the uber talented Arianne Phillps and her Hedwig creations! I’m dying to see this Broadway show!

Click link to Style.com belowHedwig Hedwig Costume Designer

http://www.style.com/stylefile/2014/04/arianne-phillips-talks-dressing-hedwig-angry-inch/?fb_action_ids=10202886501697911&fb_action_types=og.likes&fb_source=aggregation&fb_aggregation_id=288381481237582

Isabella Blow : Creativity in the Self Destructive

29 Jan

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Isabella Blow was an icon in British fashion; creating innovative styling looks, discovering models and designers, as well as serving as muse for top designers like Alexander McQueen & Philip Treacy. The exhibition, Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore! is a collection of her wardrobe purchased by Daphne Guinness and is currently showing at the Somerset House in London through March 2, 2014.

The show is a dream couture closet. Mannequins are lined up and dressed in Blow’s astounding fashion archives.  It’s a stylist’s heaven. As much as I loved the spectacular outfits by top designers like McQueen, Julien MacDonald, and Hussein Chalayan, there is an unspoken & disturbing aspect of the show. Yes, Blow is fabulous, amazing, , etc, etc…. but she was really fucked up.  She had multiple suicide attempts, which finally got her when she hit the weed killer. Why does this aspect feel so important to me? Well, first, I love a lost soul…my friends are a collection of lost souls (I say that with the utmost respect and love for them). There is a deepness there that resonates with me from my life experience…& yes I’ve had years of therapy-(which is a different blog ). It just seems that the psychology of the show is screaming to be discussed and instead it’s presented as “Isabella the Fucking Hot Visionary Fashion Goddess”-which has some truth, but instead should be “Isabella the Fucking Hot Visionary with Self-Destructive Behavior that Fuels Her Creative Fashion Goddess”. The exhibit begins with photos of her as child and growing up; an emotional hook that’s not followed through. There is an overt sense of mental illness and/or addiction that could be explored further.

When there is a discussion or even just a viewing of an artist like Van Gogh- you know because we are taught that he cut off his ear and went crazy, hence the O.C.D. brush strokes and intensity of the image. What we know about his personality really elevates the understanding of his work. Fashion is full of fucked up, narcissistic people denying personal demons- and that is what I saw and felt from this show. Fashion-fashion is insular and ego based. Allowing dysfunction to thrive is rewarded. This isn’t a 100% true statement for all fashion people, but if you’ve worked in fashion you know there is a lot of truth in it. I don’t know anything about Blow personally (besides the multiple suicide attempts & she was BFFs with McQueen); but using the theory of like attracts like, I question whether there were structures in her life that supported a healthy mental state. Comprehending this really gives the exhibition a greater sense of awareness into her innovation. Toward the end of the show I felt that everything looked like costumes that conceal emotional truths. The incredible hats & head pieces were true pieces of art, but here they function as symbolic (& literal) masks. I felt like I was sober at a wasted fashion rave…I just wanted to get out of the frenetic energy.

As intense for me viewing the show, I love any show that creates a deep emotional reaction. The exhibit made me wish she were my friend and I could help her somehow, more than marvel at her aptitude. A big disappointment to show was the finale-gift shop. I know museums have to make money but the Disneyfication of museum shows, especially something as cutting edge as Isabella Blow, hampered my experience. They are selling of all sorts of nick-nacks, faux relics and especially disheartening was the Nars makeup section where you can by your very own Isabella Blow inspired make up kit, not to mention you can smell just like Isabella when you buy her favorite perfume, Fracas; all targeted toward the hoards of young fashion student milling around sketching their favorite outfits. I think I may have more of an individual take on this show having dealt with addiction & such, than the majority of the reviewers. I really loved experiencing the fashion but at the cost of a bit of sadness; but such is life.

Real Beauty Sketches

7 Dec

dovesketch

This is a very telling video of how we see ourselves. I love that Dove does all these positive image pieces.

Trish Summerville: Net-A-Porter is Catching Fire!

17 Nov

Trish Summerville has done it again with a amazing line of clothing inspired by her film Catching Fire for online retailer Net-A-Porter. Check out the article in the Financial Times:

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/b40bdfe6-485b-11e3-8237-00144feabdc0.html#axzz2kwKH71Pj

Capitol-Couture-by-Trish-Summerville-Interview-1 trist

Dia de los Muertos Inspired Craft Art

29 Oct

I love Dia de los Muertos, maybe because I’m a Mexi, but also because I love the acknowledgement of the Spirit of our loved ones that have passed on. Just a few days away, DDLM has inspired me to create some amazing handmade hoodies & also pillows. These are my “art”. I love the process of making them: finding fabric, making patterns, embroidering, and even beading. They aren’t just for DDLM, but in appreciation for Spirit that is with us everyday, so are these created for the everyday…and Christmas is just around the corner, so order now! Happy Halloween & Dia de los Muertos!

You can see more at my website: http://www.NanoHernandez.com

Tea Box Art

25 Oct

I love finding art in the most unexpected places. When I was on my tour of newly remodeled downtown LA, my friend Sandeep took me into his local grocery store, Urban Radish. It’s what I imagine Whole Foods was like when it was just a new concept store. Everything looks interesting because there are no big name products & everything looks fun & artsy & it’s organized with the impeccable aesthetic of the Barney’s shoe department. Sandeep suddenly notices this shelf of tea that were just gorgeous & we instantly went into a rave art critique of the exquisite boxes. We were in awe. They are handcrafted & each one is unique with images of giraffes, boating, bicycling through the village, collecting coconuts, etc. It’s called Ajiri Tea & the boxes are made by the women of the Kisii community of Kenya. The company empowers the local women by giving them jobs in the creation & design of this tea & its packaging. These artisans blow away some of the people I went to art school with. The designs are images of everyday life in this little African community and are made from banana tree bark. Proceeds go back into the community by the hiring of the local women and education of orphans. I have my box of tea on display in my kitchen. I spent $9 and got a great piece of art (& great tea too). You can buy online: ck the link below.

http://www.ajiritea.com/

http://www.urban-radish.com/