In June I had the opportunity to participate in the event called Nada Dada Motel. Artist from around the city rented rooms from three hotels to display their art, June 14-17. I worked with three other artists and for a lack of a better word we termed ourselves, costume artists. We, Killbuck, Mary Crawley, and Geoffrey Nelson joined our different creative abilities together and created a space that was a smash hit. Killbuck and Mary was mostly Steampunk, Geoffrey mostly burning man and I, historical.
This was interpretation on a whole new level for me, but this is interpretation at the core of costuming, personification, transformation.
I so agree with what Killbuck wrote about our theme that I copied it here from Room of Costume
“Fashion is conformative- Costume is transformative”
At the moment the first ancient shaman wrapped an animal hide around his body to emulate the spirit of the animal, costume was born. Differentiated from functional protective clothing or fashion, costume is set apart by the essential role it plays in art, theater, entertainment, community and spirituality. Not associated with trend or aspired-to social conformity, costume is timeless and non-conformist.
Deeply associated with creative activities and contexts, costume changes the wearer in ways fashion cannot. Costume transforms us into real, mythical or popular culture characters; it changes our personality; it frees us to act out, and encourages the viewer to act along.
Costume often employs materials, methods and techniques of master artists and artisans with meticulous detail, ingenious structural design, incongruous textures, rich colors and forms. Costume artists often expand their traditional needle and thread with hammers, drills, rivets and heat guns. Cloth, leather and traditional materials are often augmented with non-traditional ingredients like plastics, metals, expanding foam or heat forming polymers.
Costume artists may create intricate re-creations of historic costumes of the past, or ignore historic reality and create costumes that previously only existed in the artist’s imagination. In the case of the Steampunk genre, costume artists create their visions of Victorian science fiction-alternate futurism by blending elegant Victorian foundations with the trappings and equipment required in an imaginary today, where the transistor was never invented, and civilization is still powered by steam. In this case, past fashion influences costume and the costume influences modern fashion. Similar circles can be seen in the costume culture evolving out of the annual Burning Man Project.
As it has been for centuries and will be for centuries more, the art of costume is the dress of the special event, the special circumstance, performance, ceremony or ritual. From Mardi Gras to masquerade ball, Comic-Cons to Ren-faires, theater footlight to Burning Man, costume is an integral art, and a part of the culture that makes us human.
A few pictures of our "room" at the Wildflower Villiage Motel.
|The view entering in the door|
|Coming in the door|
|I love the ceiling and walls of our "tent", it gave it a real Steampunk feel.|
|Geoffery is an award winning photographer of Burning Man Costumes, plus he has created a few himself.|
|The sign as you enter around the corner from the "tent" and across from Geoffrey's protraits|