RAW Brisbane presents: Expressions

On Friday night my friend and I went along to the RAW Brisbane presents Expressions event at the Arena, in Fortitude Valley.

For those of you that don’t know, RAW is an independent arts organisation, for artists, by artists. It was created in Los Angeles by Heidi Luerra, an inspiring fashion designer who thought there had to be an easier platform to help artists like herself to get off the ground. From her first successful event with 750 attendees, RAW is now run in 80+ cities in the US, Australia, Canada and soon to be Europe!

This was my first RAW event and let me tell you that I was super impressed. The Arena was a perfectly chosen venue, with two levels to showcase all the local artists, photographers and designers work, as well as a catwalk. I was really happy to see such a great turnout of people and enjoyed chatting with some of the artists involved about their work as well the guests who attended. IMG_2388Visual Artist Elise Reid (above), was one of the first artists I got the chance to speak with. I really loved her acrylic paint piece on canvas called “Bird of Paradise” ($245).

Elise said this piece is about the distinction between peace vs chaos and how they co-exist.

“When I was making this work I was really thinking about how I used to be involved in dancing competitions. The imagery to me evokes a sense of a single moment. It could be whatever moment you choose it to be.

“I was thinking about that single moment right before you get on stage to perform. There is so much going on around you, including your nerves but within that chaos you feel a sense of peace and confidence.

“I guess in general the work is about temporary state of minds. “I was experimenting with bolder colours and trying to evoke a sense of mystery. Making you question what the work is about,” Elise said. IMG_2394Elise’s other work, which can also be found on her blog. IMG_2387My friend Kaila particularly loved the piece from Elise with the mask as it reminded her of the colours she would use in her hair.

Another favourite exhibit of mine was by Raven Blackhart, a full time freelance designer called “Once upon a time”. Raven said the installation is meant to be a walk into a writer’s world.IMG_2465 To the left of the installation was a typewriter set up on a desk. Raven said this is where the writer’s physical body is situated, and the forest is what’s going on in her mind.

“The forest is also a reversed take on the storybook classic – “a little house in the forest”. In this case, it’s a little forest in a “house. IMG_2452 “My work isn’t just for looking at most of the time – I want people to really experience it. I want the audience to touch, feel, smell – enjoy the full experience, be immersed into the world I’d fashioned for them.

“I want them to leave their routine behind, leave their comfort zone, and take the moment to experience a different life, and take what they will out of the experience,” she said. IMG_2446Raven said part of the installation was a dress she made using pages from seven and a half books – each book averaging about 450+ pages.

“All of the books are discards of some form or other – either books that have been sitting in opshops for so long they are almost destined for the skips, or books that friends didn’t want anymore. Raven said all up the dress took around 5 weeks to make, using almost full days. “It was amazing, with lots of paper made into flowers and leaves,” she said.

IMG_2386One of the more colourful exhibits was by Sam Randall Art, who describes her art work (above) as “simple and whimsical in their imaginary”. His style encourages you to look longer, deeper and discover”.

IMG_2398While looking at the work of Teagan Renee Photoraphy, we came across Tony Caracella  who I thought had a unique style of attire.

Tony said, “kilts should definitely be worn more often. They’re a great way to show off patterned tights. I’m not a huge fan of Doc Martins anymore as I find their quality doesn’t really live up to the name, but I’ll wear them anyway because it’s often hard to find a decent GP boot in that style.”

IMG_2476Model Matisse Forman also caught my attention with her stand out yellow hair by Ruby Darling and retro make-up look by CassRose.

IMG_2405Absolutely loved this mother (Marina) and daughter (Tamara Simovic) pair. Tamara was also a model in the fashion show for ZaraMcKenna Designs, see clothing below. IMG_2534 IMG_2491The fashion show opened with designs from Mr Prints. These models were having lots of fun in these prints.

IMG_2517Amber Alexis The Label had her models walking in these chic, yet bold outfits to No Doubt’s Hella Good song. It suited the collected to a T. Model above wears Amber Alexis Bani Highwaister ($49.95) and AA Signature Tank ($29.95).

IMG_2506I was so happy to see Kristy Fair from LIPOA Threads featured as a Raw artist. Her designs featured a mix of traditional african wear (with a splash of tribal on the model Steph Angelique’s leg) with first world fashion.

IMG_2546The last designer to showcase her pieces for the night was Jessica Tovey The Label. Jessica describes her collection as modern gothic/polished punk. We also love model Mea Culpa, who we met at the Passion Fashion Event at GPO.

More photos from the event are on our Facebook page.

The next RAW event is being held on Friday, 19 July. I cannot wait!

Nat xx

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