Bad Boy as a Force of Nature

‘Bad Boys’ come in all shapes and sizes, but the real form of rebelliousness that our culture always needs are those who serve humanity through the depths of their experiences; from the good through the bad. Marlon Brando is unique in this regard. The film industry is the perfect channel that actors/actresses use as a vehicle of self-expression for us as their audience, so we can see, feel and be motivated by our own vulnerabilities of the human condition. The depths of ‘bad’ in masculine identity is very different than that of the feminine, than that of all other identities in between. How we dress is an obvious statement of our varying attitudes that shape and guide us.

Below is a short clip of Sean Penn talking about his good friend Marlon Brando, a kind of ‘bad boy’ that continues to inspire us non-actors and actors alike. Marlon Brando was a genius and magician in his craft.

Costume in film is one avenue to tell a character’s story. Sometimes current fashions come from the film industry like the ‘bad boy’ image below in THE WILD ONE with Marlon Brando. Since fashion is so broad and ‘anything goes’ from vintage to wide pants to skinnies, from wigs to multicolored dyed hair, from natural skin to all ranges of makeup, would this style pass today as just another outfit worn by a guy? Would we take a second look if we saw this very outfit on a man or a woman or any other gender? Has the ‘bad boy’ (so to speak) image been totally absorbed into mainstream? Many of us have black leather jackets of a kind, and wear Levis (jeans) cuffed up above the ankle, perhaps many of us in the Western world have worn or have owned cowboy (Frye) boots at one point or another.

What's he wearing?

Marlon Brando

What is BAD BOY now? Where is that defining edge of sartorial revolt in our culture? How would you dress up as one who is rebellious? (boy or girl or any other range of self-image in relation to one’s sexual identity). New identities of body and expression emerge out of social conflicts, out of personal despair, out of differing belief systems and they push us to tolerate new possibilities of living and lifestyle. I suppose because there are so many differences under the umbrella of humanity, rebellious dress really comes about in relation to particular circumstances and context. We know that dressing in stereotypes are get ups for Hallowe’en, the working world, social groups or thematic celebrations. My take is that what we own to be our ‘dress’ is idiosyncratic to the individual even though we will never stop yearning to belong to something larger than ourselves. It is this very paradox of individual and community relationship that continues to spin us in innumerable orbits. With our undying spirit to invent with our available resources and the images we have of ourselves, the evolution of dress continues. Just how it does persist is the beauty of our ‘character’ we wear today.

 


“Now You See Me, Now You Don’t”: Action Dolls by Victor and Rolf

These Action Dolls made by Victor and Rolf are a wonderful statement about freeing impossible identities into the real world. The fashion runway is a safe road to release our fantasies from the human psyche, and these dolls toy with our imagination. Dolls reference the human. We humans are a diverse people which V & R reflect beautifully. Sometimes dolls reflect cultural stereotypes like Barbie, sometimes they function to heal as mediators of conflict in tribal societies and sometimes they symbolize specific traditions like the wooden Russian Matryoshka dolls  and much more.

To me these dolls heighten the perfection of youth, loss of innocence, the opening to adulthood and the insecurities that come from the dawn of growing up. Fabrics here act like blankets to cushion and hide human form, lest we reveal the awkward occupation of puberty and the daunting cultural expectations around coming of age. Their wide bold eyes gazing for more of the world, wrapped safe from the bumps and knocks of hard cold reality.

Action Dolls

Victor and Rolf have manipulated teen chic to haute wear with Japanese fabrics, quilted collage, re- bombing the war jacket and mascot-ing with punk Doc Marten’s. The mix of low-fi with high is brilliant.

Now there are two concerns I just thought of.

First, the cultural movement towards pervasive ‘youth’ gets me reeling. Can’t culture accept the beauty of all ages? Each age has courage and insecurity, so why does the selling point have to be on the tail of ‘youth’? Let’s not forget the elderly are perfectly innocent. They are innocent to the new ways of doing things, but unfortunately they have to try and keep up all the time, instead of being seen as full in their potential and generously wise.

Secondly, injecting the youth into adult fashion might bring about an irony we really don’t want to see more of and that is more plastic surgery. Plastic re-construction for the sake of preserving youthfulness is about the fear of death, work on that people.

See more Images of Victor and Rolf couture here:

http://www.viktor-rolf.com/haute-couture/action-dolls/


Costume Designer Mark Bridges: Still Image from The Artist

THE ARTIST- Costume Designer Mark Bridges

The Artist movie (The Weinstein Co.)

The Artist- a film still

A moment of love, anticipation, self-love, longing and peace. Mark Bridges articulates the dress of Peppy Miller here played by Bérénice Bejo to stand out from the background curtains and wall. He designed/chose the dress with stripes and  swirly motifs, of sequins in patterns which all separate her from the surroundings. Because the film was transferred into black and white, Mark Bridges had to be mindful of this phenomena so that depth and the dynamic use of space with figure is maintained visually and carries the story in an exciting way. Mark Bridges does this brilliantly.

Above is a black white collage of some ladies in contemporary 20’s fashion. I created it. The ladies are connected to the abstract trees. In this case I had to separate them away from their environment because the  patterning that is in their garments is also in the trees. Close to camouflage. This is the opposite to what Mark Bridges had to resolve. His characters had to stand out in the sets at all times.

To freshen your memory, watch the trailer of  THE ARTIST  by Director Michel Hazanavicius if you can. You gotta love the 20’s style.


Rei Kawakubo- always refreshing

REI KAWAKUBO

She is fun, courageous, eccentric and inspiring. She is absurd, ridiculous, playful and innovative. She is dark, feminine, makes the terrifying possible and thus she is a game-changer. Her style endures the embarrassing without shame. She is the definition of abstract, a poem and the striker on a soccer field.  Her scores reverberate again and again with the unconventional. You can’t miss her. She will make your anxieties pass out of fear and into the realm of acceptance. One couldn’t be cooler.

REI KAWAKUBO

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2005/07/04/the-misfit-3?mbid=nl_Sunday%20Longreads%20(27)%20remainder&CNDID=49649813&spMailingID=10969476&spUserID=MTkyMzEzMDI1MDIwS0&spJobID=1160599083&spReportId=MTE2MDU5OTA4MwS2


Identity avant ou après -we stir it up

 

CASTEL DIAZ                         Castel Diaz

Patterns, simulated textures and odd juxtapositions are revealed here in quirky perspectives. Castle Diaz presents female beauty as a kind of half hollow statue where Rauschenberg meets Duchamp meets Vogue’s Erte with Art Deco flair. We certainly construct our identities with a relationship to our inherited past.

abstract fashion

abstract fashion

Whether the flora and fauna of the environment take over in ambiguous disguise

DAWN BLACK

DAWN BLACK

or if provocative hidden agendas trap our identity with pseudo disregard,

wouldn’t it be fun to just throw away all our knowing baggage and pretend we were something else, utterly?

What do you imagine this to be?

 


“SHE HAS A BRAIN” says Versace

According to Versace, women no longer have a role in the world of fantasy but are about the real world. Women have an obligation to show their strength, diverse beauty, and intelligence. Does fashion represent the woman differently today than it did ten years ago? In my opinion, back then, fashion was caught up with revealing our sexuality, and sensuality self-consciously.  I think now, the crux is what we do with our empowered selves because sharing that power is what will make a difference. The alchemy between inhabiting clothing and audience will persuade new justices, new identities and therefore new tolerance and new inclusive liberation. Maybe this is what equality means.

Sounds like we better show ‘m how it’s done, be the present, and strut the future with our own voices.

I can do that and so can you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


We Get Our Armor from Everywhere

INSECT

UNGENEROUS BUT WILL LAST

CONVENIENTLY REFLECTIVE

SHE IS CONFUSED

UNDEFINABLE

IMPENETRABLE

IMPENETRABLE

SHE IS WOODEN

WOODEN

FROM A GRAVITATIONAL BLACK HOLE

NO CORE

NO CORE

NO DIRECTION

NO DIRECTION

SOUNDS LIKE POWER TO ME…

 

 


GLAMOURie performance exhibition January 2016

I am nostalgic around an exhibition I created early this year from my residency at Oxygen Art Center in Nelson, BC.  I thought I would share some of the performance that came out at that time. I created the set, directed and choreographed the movement and momentary stills of the performance called Glamourie. You can visit the intentions of the concept here-http://www.samtalbotkelly.com/news.php.

Artist: Sam Talbot-Kelly

Fantastic creatives: Architect and dancer Thomas Loh, Teyana Neufeld, Lynn Dragone, Ho Soon Yeen along with a giant teddy bear were the performers wearing specific costumes who bump into each other on a dilapidated, topsy turvy, insecure ‘vessel’.  Ships and vessels are typically with ends at the bow and stern. My ‘ship’ had signs of foreboding and comfort, dark and light, stable and insecure at either ends. The narrative wasn’t visually linear with characters moving in and out of space from a beginning act to an ending act. Rather the performance was happening before the audience knew it was happening. These characters pre-existed in the entire space before the audience came in, as if they inhabited it for an uncertain amount of time, as seemingly unrelated people with random connection. The audience stumbled into their space of ‘happening’ and together performers, audience, time and space collapse into a collective ‘real time’.

The  ‘vessel’ set jutted out on a diagonal from one corner and extended over to the opposite corner. The center of the vessel found the characters colliding and culminated into a vortex of uncertainty. None of the four knew what to expect from the other, none of the four knew if they could trust one another. They circled together ambiguously without trajectory, without destination, without fully knowing who each other were, yet the attraction to pull through and out of the culminating maelstrom peak was strong. A reliance on instinct came upon them, on that which they couldn’t perceive, not of each other’s powers but on some oblique acceptance and perhaps responsibility to that which is beyond themselves.

Enjoy.


“…workers in song” Leonard Cohen

 

I started this blog over and over. Can’t really sum this up or begin. To an artist so human, we have your material and love forever

in classy dark suits

to the deep dark voice

always inspiring

our soulful march


ABSTRACTION- by Ellsworth Kelly

ellsworth-kelly-art-400

 

People often get stumped by nonfigurative art. Ellsworth Kelly convinces us of the value of staying in the present, and abstract painting is his vehicle for attending to that larger mystery. Abstract art really does take time like he says in this interview with SFMOMA https://www.sfmoma.org . There is no story when looking at his work, our body and instincts respond. We can get lost in colors, shapes, feelings and memories when looking at abstractions. That is a beautiful thing.

 

Ellsworth Kelly Explains His Relationship to Abstraction