Wearable Art 17 at Dunedin Fine Art Center

The deadline for applying to the Wearable Arts 17 show at the Dunedin Fine Art Center was May 5th, the day after the Creative Pinellas Emerging Artist Exhibition opening reception. I had it on my radar but was so busy with other art obligations, projects, and work (the entire year), I thought I would not have time to apply, especially to something that I have no experience with and would be quite demanding. I almost let it go but felt like I would regret not applying. So, I managed to get my application in just before the call closed….and I got in.

Self-portrait immersed in my experiential installation “Beginner’s Mind” in January 2023, from which I’m drawing inspiration for wearable arts 17.

I am now in the middle of producing five looks, essentially five sculptures based on the theme of Reincarnation/Transmutation, which can walk down a runway on someone’s body by August 26th. There is a lot to consider and coordinate outside of garment ideas and construction; like models and fittings, backstage help, music and timing, press and rehearsal. I am learning as I go how to sort out the different production components I must resolve, without overwhelming myself. The Dunedin Fine Art Center also provides a generous $1500 stipend to each designer, which is so important for someone like me who does not have the financial resources to comfortably throw myself into a project like this, which is so enriching and beneficial to me as an artist.

Current work in progress for wearable arts 17

I knew it would be a big undertaking if I got accepted but I was also excited for a new creative challenge. It’s important to my process to find opportunities that force me out of routine and expand the range of visual vocabulary I use to express myself. As a multidisciplinary artist growing in the realms of sculpture and experiential installation that includes sound/video/olfactory components, the wearable art show feels like a valuable exercise to engage my imagination and build skills that apply to my current, more theatrical work.

I want to continuously evolve and find new ways to visually communicate. It’s easy to get stuck in our routines and the only way I know how to evolve is to expand my repertoire, expand the tools and knowledge beyond what I’m already comfortable working with. That involves taking risks and doing things that are new and a little intimidating. I don’t mind being intimidated by something if I also feel excited by it. I know it’s “good” intimidation when I feel capable of rising to the challenge even if I’m not sure what I am doing. That’s different than when I feel intimidated in a crippled-with-self-doubt kind of way that is not productive or exciting. There is a difference of confidence between those feelings that I pay close attention to when I’m making decisions.

Click here for more information on Wearable Arts 17, tickets to the show Saturday August 26th, and the Dunedin Fine Art Center.

Improvised forms I’m using to work from in part.

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