On January 8th, the Vancouver chapter of the international artist collective RAW:Visionary filled the 560 Club on Seymour St. with art, music and fashion aficionado’s. FYI: There are over 60 chapters of RAW around the world!
Organizing 38+ artists in one venue can be a daunting task but for the organizers, the choice of the 560 venue proved to be the magic kiss. The layout of the club allowed for a seamless integration of the visual displays with the performing artists, but for a Thursday night, the event did stretch out even longer than this art fanatic could handle.
Late in the evening, actor Nathan Witte hosted a series of local fashion designers, clothing and textile creators. Fariba Merzaie presented her line Gabbeh, Prahsik Designs showed shimmery fabrics with lace trims in a feminine silhouette, casual and athletic wear by Yifat Jovani, Lata Design used bright colours and textures to draw the eye and Grandi’s Atelier presented highlights from her Fall 2014 collection.
The invite requested cocktail attire and the art loving attendee’s complied and eye candy abounded!
Smartly suited hipster gent’s quaffed frothy beer, street punks slouched in designer hoodies, young fashionista snapped selfie’s with their besties and the retro chic style mavens posed for candids while sipping martinis.
At the first juncture, we encountered the art of Jenn Brisson and had the opportunity to speak with her briefly. Jenn’s paintings caught my eye and pleased my Gen X sensibilities with their references to the beautiful macabre, doe eyed lasses with long eye lashes, honey bees and marshmallowy soft pink monsters.
Pushing past Jenn, we encountered Myranda Warren body painting a mystical creature with a fantastic feather headdress and then onto the punky fun jewelry of the Kat Made Jewelry line which includes body and head chains, handlets and necklaces.
The Kat Made Jewelry girl likes to be noticed. She likes to take risks, be unique and stand out from the crowd. We also noticed that pieces from the current collection were also being worn by many attendees!
On our way upstairs we passed a despondent bride and her creator. Vicky Lo used broken cd’s, traditional fabrics and dramatic make-up to create this moving work of art. The mezzanine level was crazy crowded and upon pushing our way through, we found a spontaneous photoshoot happening. A handful of models with incredible hair art had gathered on an antique couch and were posing for delighted patrons. The feisty and super cute newcomer Lindsey Nguyen created the incredible head pieces that incorporated synthetic materials, geometric shapes and bold colours into what appeared to be Dr. Suess inspired looks.
Brendan Phillips and Max Brown were painting at opposite ends of the fine arts spectrum. Max searches for meaning and narrative by combining figures with abstract patterns and washes whereas Brendan Phillips displayed little pieces of everyday life with our eyes immediately caught by the sleeping Japanese transit riders – reminded us of the @DreamOnTransit instagram account.
Wrapping up our art tour around RAW:Visionary was the work of Tessa Manu. Her photographs contain snaps of world travels displaying intricate details, bright colours, crumbling paint, brick walls, bikes and the rugged West Coast. The colours are vibrant, the imagery stark yet full of potential and sentimentality.
Unfortunately such a visually powerful evening had to be cut short because of an early morning and we did not even get a peek at the musical performances or exotic dancers! So we look forward to the next amazing RAW event entitled ‘Grandeur’. It is set for March 2015. All interested artists should pay heed to their call-out by visiting www.rawartists.org.
(This article was written by Helen Siwak)