A Colorful Past: An Uncertain Future

Snooping through “Nat’s” (Natalie Goldberg’s) book, ‘Wild Mind,’ reminds me of writing in my journals. Goldberg calls it practice writing when you sit down, “take your hands out of the air,” and write.  Daily it becomes a compilation made up of thoughts and memories, visions, stories, and impressions.

Goldberg’s friend is a jeweler whose beautiful deco jewelry had its origin in the art deco hotels that filled the Miami Beach of her childhood.  This leads to me thinking about my “Gravity Collage” bracelets sculpted with buttons and guided through a process of intuition.

Yesterday I posted a thank you to the Fashion Writing Class at VCAD and here is their letter to me:

Dear Nicole Rigets,

On behalf of my fashion writing class at VCAD, I would like to thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to visit our class. Often times when one looks at art, it is taken for face value, and critiqued poorly. Having you come to our class and meet us has given us great insight in to the story, and world behind the art work.

I can safely say that we have all become inspired by your visit in many different ways.  Thank you for answering all of our questions.  You did so with grace and we found your answers very informative.

We especially enjoyed the pieces of Jewelry you brought in to show us. The pieces of jewelry seemed to reflect the environment of our class, many different pieces from many different backgrounds working together to form something beautiful.  We gained great insight in to your world, and your work.

We wish you all the best in everything you do, and know it will turn out great.  Thank you again for coming to see us we really enjoyed your visit.

Respectfully,

Wesley Barisoff (on behalf of VCAD, Fashion Writing Class)

A beautifully written letter by students with a promising future.  Their analogy of dissimilar buttons and unique beings was so well described in the letter there’s no need for me to elaborate on it.  It’s first class the way artists and writers cheer for, mentor, and sincerely support each other.

Now thinking back to my childhood and how intrigued I was by the antique container with a little “character” sitting atop the lid.  This china ornament was always displayed on Mum’s dresser. It held her buttons and some small cowrie shells.  I inherited my love of jewelry from my Mother.  Buttons are little objects: little sculptures that show up in different sizes, shapes, textures, and colors. They herald style, craftsmanship, industrialization, and social mores.

"A Colorful Past"

Copyright © 2010 Nicole Rigets

It’s All Art!! Fashion Writers @ VCAD

VCAD – Jannette Maedel:

Dropping by to thank you and your students for inviting me to visit the class last Wednesday.  This was a superb opportunity for me to speak about art and how far it ranges; even so far as to include fashion writing.

When a beam of light passes through a prism it decomposes, and this action produces a spectrum.  We can use the word spectrum to imply a broad range of categories applied to a single title:  Art.

One broad category is fashion.  Fashion design and fashion writing go hand in hand and very distinctly relate to art.  Writers and visual/media artists are expected to create a feeling or a sensation in their readers and in their viewers.  All forms of art are expressive and meant to evoke a reaction or a response; whether it be positive or negative.

When the students looked at “Gravity Collage” wearable sculpture (jewelry), they openly expressed verbal feelings to be later transcribed into fashion writing. Under the heading of art it is now possible to link or conjoin two categories:  fashion writing and jewelry.  I’ve always believed in a mosaic approach to life and art:  when being creative draw from all subjects and cross-pollinate your work using diverse elements. Interconnections add drama and I sense that a fashion writer needs to adopt drama as his or her best friend.

The atmosphere was keen and inspiring as the students asked all the right questions. Some of my answers were a real surprise to me!  Thank you all for providing me with a fresh new spectrum to take home.  Nicole Rigets, BFA

I’m an Author on another Blog: http://www.fashionwriting.wordpress.com

This Blog is where you will be able to read a sampling of fashion writing that students are producing in Jannette Maedel’s class at the Vancouver College of Art and Design in Downtown Vancouver, B.C.

Samples include writing about the following designers:

Alexander McQueen (RIP)

Jessica Biffi (Plus Sizes)

Talula – Aritzia’s Best

Drew William (Opposing Forces in Pattern Cutting)

Eco Elroy (Fashionable Organic Streetwear)

Evan Biddell ( Saskatoon’s Fashion Sensation)

Copyright © 2010 Nicole Rigets

What Jeans are You Wearing this Season?

The first question is: "What jeans are you wearing this season?"

It’s the beginning of the question session at Vancouver College of Art and Design.  I have been invited to talk to Fashion Merchandising students about my art and process by Jannette Maedel who is teaching these students fashion writing.

  • I wear Acne jeans!

Is the beginning of your design process the same every time?  Describe your process.

  • My process is always changing and evolving; fueled by my emotional nature.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

  • From nature, lucid dreams, the history of art and design, cultural – visual milieux.

Do you ever fear that you will run out of ideas?

  • No – never!  I fear I’ll run out on my life’s timeline.

Who do you do your art for:  yourself or an audience?

  • I do my art for myself because I can’t not do it:  it’s pervasive and permeates all that I am.   I like others to see the work and experience it.

How long does it take to complete a piece of art?

  • From 27 minutes all the way through to no boundaries of time (infinite).  Every project is unique.  Each one depends on process, and process depends on the following factors:  money, research, support, supplies, environment, market, resolution, time sensitivity, and the ‘Artist’s Zeitgeist’.

What was the last book that you read?  Did it influence your work?

  • ‘Second Sight’ by Judith Orloff, M.D.  Orloff is a psychiatrist and psychic who tells a compelling story revealing her courageous journey to embrace her psychic gifts.  All of us are born with psychic abilities and this ground-breaking book will show you how to recognize psychic experiences in your everyday life.  The book is hard to put down.  It’s had a powerful effect on me and I’ll likely see its influence on me as my work evolves.

Do you keep some of your art or give any of it away?

  • I donate at times to fundraisers.  Some has been given away.

Do you listen to music when you work?

  • Usually I have music playing.  I listen to jazz – sometimes blues or classical.

What do you mean by, “Harmony is a velvet universe?”

  • Years ago when I first said this, I believed peace could be universally achieved.  More recently I feel my belief to be purely utopian.  Warring parties have existed for-ever and my words are my wish, they’re my divine dream, my intent.  I want to fell weapons with mindfulness and love. Wesley, a student in yesterday’s class, has written: “As hard as we all try to make the world a perfect place it will never happen.  I once heard that angels need demons…and it’s true; how do we know we’re doing good if there is no bad to compare it to?” www.wesleyjbarisoff.blogspot.com February 17th, 2010 ‘is it just me or is it harder to breathe?

What specifically in the natural beauty of Vancouver inspired you with your work?

  • Mountains, the sea in all its moods, trees, flowers and flowering shrubs.  I have invented a color called: “Vancouver Grey.”  It is a distinct color I see all around me in our atmosphere.  This perfectly balanced neutral shade needs to be manufactured to compete with “Payne’s Gray”. “Vancouver Grey” weather makes an outstanding background for photographs; it reflects detail and adds extra depth.  Shoot when it’s overcast.

Who are your favorite artists?

  • Robert Rauschenberg, Louise Nevelson, Hannah Hoch, Alexander Calder, Edouard Manet…too many to list.  I used to sit for hours in the fine arts section of the Library at the University of British Columbia in the late nineties and pour through every book, over and over, page by page until my head was reeling with colors and lines and tangles of inspiration.  This old building that housed the library designated a large concrete room to visual arts.  I very much felt like I was below ground. The few windows were inside and small.  The glass was frosted and all the panes had chicken wire fastened over them.  I loved moving a stool along the aisles and sitting hunched over under flickering fluorescent lights dreaming of all I could construct.  I could hear the dark. The cold weather rained on the other side of the walls and this was like music to mentally create by. Strangely, I seemed to be the only one in there late at night which added another dimension to time and art absorbing me and taking me in fully.

When you were a child, did you dream of being who you are now?  How did your dreams and expectations shape the person you are today?

  • When I was a child I was skittish; abrupt noises, adults, energy fields…often caused me to experience anxiety, moods, and sometimes fatigue.  My dreams were relentless, aggressive toward me, and saturated with color.  I’m passionate about continually learning and doing new things; this has kept me shape-shifting as life unfolds.

What are your favorite styles in photography?

  • Still Life, Social Landscape, Street Photography, Milieux of Cities and People, Reflections, Fashion and Nudes.

What tools do you have “on-the-go” for inspiration?

  • Color always, and a jillion beads, trinkets, buttons, drawers full of saved paper, dried bones and flowers, one dead bird, photographs, magazines, books everywhere, my Maternal Grandmother’s Love Letters, rivers of sentimental clutter and a narrow path to navigate through.  Sometimes I feel “crazy overwhelmed” with it all, yet I know I would be depressed and despondent without it. These papered boxes, tablescapes, and shelves are reminisces of people, places, times, and everything in my life.  Even the insides of the cabinets look like collage.  As a full-time artist, I cannot relate to all my clutter as a conglomeration, when I can “legally” call it an “assemblage”.

When you write, do you prefer writing in a quiet place or do you write anywhere?

  • I write anywhere, everywhere; sometimes even as I walk. I always tuck a few index cards into my pocket or purse when I go out so I can make notes and record observations.

I love your poem about the pair of jeans.  What inspired you to write about that?

  • ‘A Pair of Jeans’, came through while I was sitting in a group at Emily Carr.  We had been meditating and doing warm-up exercises when this flowed through the tip of my pen.  Poetry comes through me at odd times.  I don’t sit down to write poems. Someone said the poem reminded her of Rita Wong’s voice in ‘monkeypuzzle’.

Wong’s poetry often addresses her relationship with her environment. Her poems show a close connection with nature and a support for local product, while expressing distaste for genetically modified foods. In forage, her poem ‘the girl who ate rice almost every day’ encourages the reader to look up Monsanto in the US patent database, and see how many patents there are for genetically modified foods, including the type of foods affected. There is also a poem, ‘canola queasy’ dedicated to Percy Schmeiser, the Saskatchewan farmer sued by Monsanto because genetically engineered canola blew into his fields. Her work challenges the reader to think about how they effect their environment. (Wikipedia). I see now from the excerpt above that Wong and I share the same sentiments regarding seeds as life and death.  Over the weekend I will post an image with text I’ve created Re:  Monsanto.

What advice do you have for young artists and designers?

  • Be 100% yourself!  Be authentic, explore, read, be curious.  Delve into photo and art history for inspiration, then put your own twist on it.

Having written this up as a blog, I noticed these questions could be used to draft an Artist Statement.  Go for it!!

Copyright © 2010 Nicole Rigets