By Loreen Berlin, Special to the Independent
Local artists currently exhibiting at the Festival of Arts showcased mind-boggling talents on Sunday, Aug. 19, with creative outfits fashioned from reclaimed, reused and recycled goods.
The audience’s “People’s Choice” award went to artist Adam Neeley’s gown that took two years to construct, which was modeled by Julie Holmes. Neeley’s “Acqua” creation was made of more than 300 cans of La Croix water, resulting in a dazzling metallic spectrum of lemon yellow, lime green, cranberry pink and natural blue in a bubbling motif. Neeley used jewelry-making tools to cut the aluminum cans into colorful sheets that were then formed into thousands of bubble-shaped domes and attached like a pavement of sparkling gems, set one by one.
Neeley’s gown also took the “Most Glamorous & Elegant ‘Red Carpet’ Worthy Creation” award.
Other winning categories included the “Most Creative Concept,” which was awarded to a gown constructed of more than 60 designer shopping bags by artist Kate Cohen and modeled by Mary Schmidt.
Garnering the “Most Exciting Ensemble with Wow Factor” award was mixed media artist Carolyn Johnson, who also modeled her creation. Johnson’s outfit consisted of materials such as volleyball net, CDs, packing materials, Perrier bottles, PVC piping and cardboard
Artist Kirsten Whalen was awarded, “Most Innovative Use of Materials” for her creation made of repurposed window screens, complete with attached light bulbs, wires, cords, sockets and plugs, which was modeled by her daughter, Erika Schiendele.
Other participating artists included Richard Bohn with his “Healthcare Life Jacket;” Brad Elsberry with his “Chromalume #8” made of recycled cloth shopping bags; Elizabeth McGhee’s “Bathroom ball” gown of reused toilet paper wrappers; and Antje Campbell’s gown made of dry cleaner plastic bags and matching hangers.
Each category winner took home $1,000 in cash for their creative endeavors, proving there’s room for reused items with a touch of creative talent in the fashion world.
As was evidenced again this year, artists’ minds are never idle, but always seeking the right mix for their next creation to again impress viewers and be the standout on the runway.
This year’s judges included Fox 11 entertainment reporter Amanda Salas; production and set designer Nelson Coates; associate publisher of OK! Magazine Shelley Fariello; clothing and costume designer Alex Jaeger; LACMA curator of costumes and textiles Kaye Spilker; and Radar Online entertainment editor Alexis Tereszcuk.