|My first model, Jasenya, was a high school student in Toronto who is interested in art and fashion.|
|Lorna is a UPS delivery associate who enjoys modeling on the side.|
|This piece, modeled by Lorna, was the last one I painted. I felt like I could have kept going!|
|Our Art Collectif x Mike Smalley x Artfully Awear booth!|
|Ann is the mother of my first model, Jasenya. She said they like to do creative things together, and have even appeared in music videos!|
|Jessica is a performance artist who uses her body as her medium.|
|Here I am with my model, Ann, and Art Collectif founder Erika.|
Last weekend, I exhibited my work at an art fair for the first time ever! In collaboration with Art Collectif and Mike Smalley, I created four one-of-a-kind Artfully Awear garments on live models with a live audience at Artist Project Toronto. It was truly a test of my abilities. I've learned that it's one thing to spend time at home making my pieces, and another challenge completely to do it with people watching (and wearing the garments!) at the same time.
I have to admit that I've had a difficult start to 2018, creatively. Around the beginning of the year, I entered a weird creative depression - I didn't want to make anything or feel inspired to try anything new with my work. I've gone through creative ups and downs before, but this one seemed more significant; I wondered if I'd reached the end of Artfully Awear.
My friend Erika Floysvik, founder of Art Collectif and Toronto native, had spoken to me about partnering with her company Art Collectif to highlight one of their artists through an Artfully Awear demonstration during Artist Project Toronto. I'd agreed to do it, but in all honesty, I was really worried about it when the time came. Since I hadn't created anything in a while, I didn't feel like I'd be able to deliver my best work on the project. However, I'd agreed to do it, so I prepped the garments and flew to Toronto, nervous about the way they would turn out.
Everyone in Toronto and at the fair was so kind and welcoming! I immediately let go of some of my nerves when I realized that I was among friends. I almost immediately got to work meeting my first model, Jasenya, and painting my first garment. With each successive work, I felt more confident and thought the result was better. By the fourth piece, I felt like I could go on forever!
My favorite part of the whole experience was meeting the models that Sharalee, Erika's assistant, had sourced for me. I'd requested that each one be diverse - whether in physical characteristics or background, and she found some very special women! I loved being able to highlight them on my Instagram, and especially enjoyed working with Jasenya and Ann, a mother daughter pair.
That aspect of the project opened a whole new form of what I do - using wearable art to empower women. I've already experienced what this project has done for my own creativity and confidence, and now it's time for me to share that feeling with others.
Thank you to Mike Smalley, the lovely artist whose work inspired all of these new pieces, and to Art Collectif for being a wonderful partner on this project!
I'm looking forward to my next visit to Toronto, and to discovering new ways to bring the empowering message of Artfully Awear to others.