costumes

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Art Craft Design

Sequined and Baubled Masks by ‘Damselfrau’ Fascinate with Mysterious Beauty

September 17, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Self-taught artist Magnhild Kennedy (previously), who works as ‘Damselfrau’, uses found and vintage materials to create elaborate masks. Mesh netting, sequined appliques, ribbons, beads, and pompoms come together in Kennedy’s wearable artworks, which she documents and shares on Instagram. Leaving space for her eyes, the artist otherwise completely obscures her face and poses against a blank background with patterned fabric draped around her shoulders. The artist declines to attach specific meaning or intention to each creation, instead leaving the interpretive experience up to the viewer.

In an interview with Yatzer, Kennedy explains that she grew up in an artistic household, and describes her start as a mask-maker as “a fluke”: in the 2000’s she began making masks as a fun thing to wear when going out to clubs with friends. Over the last decade, Kennedy has continued to explore the seemingly limitless possibilities of the mask as medium, and teaches herself new sewing skills to add to her repertoire of techniques. The artist explains to Yatzer that she draws inspiration from domestic environments: “I’m inspired by people’s homes and how they live with their objects around them. I often feel like I’m decorating a space, more than making a mask.”

You can see more of the artist’s ever-expanding collection of masks on Instagram and view select editorial commissions on her website gallery.

 

 



Art

Intricate Beadwork Adorns Handmade Mardi Gras Suits by Demond Melancon

August 11, 2019

Andrew LaSane

For the past three decades, Louisiana-based artist Demond Melancon has created highly detailed Mardi Gras Indian suits using millions of hand-sewn small glass beads. Each suit takes several months to create and features custom patches that tell stories about African and American history.

Images of Nyabinghi warriors, Haile Selassie, African nature scenes, and slavery are strung together bead by bead to form decorative costumes that weigh up to 150 pounds and are worn from 9am to 6pm on Mardi Gras. Frills and feathers frame the complex beadwork and sequins to complete the one-of-a-kind single purpose suits.

Melancon tells Colossal that in junior high school his friends “masked Indian” and that he followed them into the craft. He was chosen by the elders to learn sewing techniques as well as the history of Black Masking Culture in New Orleans when he was 14 years old. After masking as a Spy Boy for 15 years with the Seminole Hunters, Melancon earned the distinction of becoming Big Chief to his own tribe. In addition to leading his community and passing on traditions to the next generation, the honor is expressed through the size and intricacy of his suits, which can take over 4,000 hours to complete and are only worn once.

“I study our history and historical narratives to create my pieces [with] many different references,” Big Chief Demond Melancon of the Young Seminole Hunters explained. He added that as a “bead master,” his style involves using the smallest beads available to pack in as much detail as possible.

Melancon’s work has been exhibited in galleries around the world. A new documentary short about his life and art titled “All on a Mardi Gras Day” (dir. Michal Pietrzyk) was the Documentary: Grand Jury Prize Winner at Seattle International Film Festival and has been shown at other festivals across America, Germany, and Denmark. For a list of upcoming screenings and to see more of the Big Chief’s suits, visit his website and Instagram.

 

 



Art

FILTRATE: A Futurist Guerrilla-Style Short Film Shot on an iPhone in Montreal’s Subways

April 16, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

A new short film titled FILTRATE imagines a future completely saturated with technology, where post-human figures interact using rune-like symbols on immersive social media platforms. The film, directed by Mishka Kornai, was created in the public spaces of Montréal’s underground Metro transit system.

The actors in FILTRATE sport futuristic costumes made by Odette Mattha with shimmering tinsel, long strands of party beads, and textured fabrics that match the setting’s architectural details. Mattha’s designs take advantage of the unique feel of different areas of the Metro system: each station was created by a different architect. Though the filmmakers clearly used the spaces during off-peak times, we can only wonder at the surprise of an unsuspecting commuter.

In a statement on the film’s website, the creators explain their impetus for FILTRATE. “If people retreat into smaller and more idiosyncratic groups, what will the evolutionary trajectory of our society look like? As social groups diverge further and further over the course of generations, when does humanity cease to be just one species?”

The whole process took two years to complete, including 43 days of shooting, six months of costume building, and a year of post-production. Despite its high-tech feel, the creators share that FILTRATE was filmed using just an iPhone 7, a wheelchair, a monopod, and a hand stabilizer. You can take a look behind the scenes in an additional making-of video.

 

 



Art Craft Design

Elaborate Historical Wigs Formed From Copper Wire by Bespoke Sculptor Yasemen Hussein

April 8, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Mixed media bespoke sculptor Yasemen Hussein explains that her art career was originally pointed in the direction of glass, but she found her passion for metalwork while working toward an MFA at Illinois State University. Now well established in her metal practice, Hussein uses copper electrical cable to form elaborate and sinuously lifelike hairdos. The video below, from London’s Victoria & Albert Museum, takes a look inside Hussein’s studio as she created wigs used by the V&A for their exhibit Opera: Passion, Power and Politics.

Hussein works in a coverted stable house in south London, where she manipulates the thin metal cables to simulate elaborate styles ranging from carefully coiled curls to the sweeping fan-like shapes of a geisha’s coif. Rather than creating exact replicas of realistic hair in every wig, Hussein incorporates artistic license to suggest the volume and gesture of each historical look.

In addition to her dramatic wigs, Hussein also creates geometric sculptural installations and delicate copper feathers. You can explore more of the sculptor’s work on her website.

 

 



Design Photography

Recycled Packing Materials Sculpted Into Elaborate Renaissance Costumes by Suzanne Jongmans

November 7, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

Interdisciplinary artist Suzanne Jongmans uses her skills as a sculptor and costume designer to create recycled garments from packing materials such as Styrofoam, plastic sheets, and segments of thick bubble wrap. The costumes take the form of elaborate bonnets and high collared dresses which are then photographed on subjects in poses reminiscent of portrait styles from the 15th, 16th, and 17th centuries. Specifically the Dutch artist references paintings created by artists such as Rembrandt, Holbein the Younger, and Rogier van der Weyden in her styled photographs.

Jongmans draws connections between contemporary disposable materials and the aesthetics of fine silks or lace, presenting creative takes on centuries-old clothing. “The idea of making something out of nothing changes our look on reality,” she explains. “…Most people throw that [foam] away. I make clothing out of it; foam is my textile.” You can see more of her portraits and garments sculpted from recycled materials on her website and Facebook.

 

 



Art Craft Design History

Art Historical Masterworks Come Alive at Annual Halloween Parade in Kawasaki, Japan

October 31, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

Image via @_ellie_

Image via @_ellie_

Recently in Kawasaki, Japan, a sextet of famous paintings marched their way through the city’s annual Halloween parade— Picasso’s “The Weeping Woman,” Vincent van Gogh’s self portrait, Johannes Vermeer’s “Girl with a Pearl Earring,” Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa,” Edvard Munch’s “The Scream,” and of course Beast Jesus, the art world’s favorite botched masterpiece. Costume wearers presented themselves as the subjects of the famous paintings from the waist up, with fishnet stockings and heels from the waist down. The group won this year’s Pumpkin Award, taking home the grand prize and 500,000 yen, or around $4,400. You can see other prize winners of this year’s Kawasaki Halloween parade on their website, and view the paintings in action in a video by @_ellie_ below. (via Hyperallergic)

Image via @_ellie_

Image via @_ellie_

Image via @_ellie_

Image via @_ellie_

Image via @eurotwoner

Image via @eurotwoner

 

 



Art Craft History

A Peculiar Character From a Hieronymus Bosch Painting Comes to Life on the New York City Subway

September 19, 2018

Laura Staugaitis

Artist Rae Swon recently brought a fantastical creature from The Temptation of St. Anthony to life on the New York City subway. The triptych painting created by Hieronymus Bosch in the early 16th century includes a small, peculiar figure on the left-hand triptych (detail below). The character has bird-like facial features, and appears to be wearing wooden ice skates and a funnel as a hat. After creating the modern-day costume using needle felting and other found materials, Swon took her character for a subway ride through Manhattan. Although this particular costume is sold out, you can see more of Swon’s fantastical felted creations like a Starling Coin Purse and an Opposum Purse on Instagram and Etsy. (via Hyperallergic)

Detail of Hieronymus Bosch’s “The Temptation of St. Anthony”

Hieronymus Bosch’s “The Temptation of St. Anthony”