•June 16, 2012 • Leave a Comment

SYR+ISM, as you may have guessed, is on hiatus. I am in Japan. I work full-time. I have also fallen in love. I have fallen in love with dance! I dance a lot. And though I desire greatly to make clothes so I can mash dance and fashion together, I live in a tiny apartment with no real means to pull off events to the scale of what happened while I went to school. I’m also thinking of rebranding.

In the meantime, I think I’ll start a blog on fashion and style in general. I have a pretty good eye for style and I even have a degree in Fashion Design – as if that somehow makes me credible! At any rate, I am enjoying the styles here, and I’m really interested in how my own sense of fashion has evolved and what I can share. I’m also alarmed at some of the strange, strange clothing I have found. Not in terms of color strange, or even what genre strange, but as in I don’t even know how to put it on strange. And my models used to tell me that they couldn’t get dressed without help because my clothes were like that – hah!  I am getting payback for it guys, believe me. I always buy the clothes I can’t figure out, though.


Fashion Play

•January 28, 2012 • Leave a Comment

I declare February to be Fashion month. For me. I know it’s not February yet, but it will be soon, and I will spend several days in Hokkaido right away so that takes away some time of fashion play. I’m rebranding within the year. SYR+ISM is something I came up with nine years ago, and though it has gracefully aged, I don’t think it’ll make this next leap. I will use it in other ways, but I am advancing. I need to be freed. In the meantime, I’m just playing around with fashion, sort of like what happened in December Drawing Month for comics.

I will try to do some fashion oriented activity, mostly dress-up and styling, every day. So here’s hoping for 28 fashion endeavors! This means sampling, of course. I’ll follow the same rules for DeDraMo – more hours on one project doesn’t make it count for more. It’s about quantity. So I will sample. And I will play. For the love of fashion.

the viewer should be rewarded

•November 17, 2011 • Leave a Comment

You may know by now that the most inspiring people to me fashion-wise are musicians. So I’m going to talk about one of my absolute favorites. Just over two years ago I was on youtube looking for miscellaneous VK videos. I was on one by Nightmare when I noticed a colorful video in the “recommended” section, and I thought it was odd. So I clicked it.

Instant love.

I have since been following both bands from that song, BIGBANG and 2NE1. I am immediately intrigued by what is different, but also by what is sincere – GDragon (GD) truly looks like he’s enjoying what he does. He’s the one in the pink janitor suit and marching-band hat out front.

My degree is in Fashion Design and I have an undying obsession with expressions of beauty. I would be the last person to say that someone wearing jeans and a t-shirt is not as beautiful as someone with purple hair, high heels and a checkered dress (or vice versa). As long as both people are comfortable in their presentation, they are beautiful. I happen to prefer weird, but that is a personal aesthetic choice.

I love GD’s music for the surprises it offers, whether that surprise comes in how he uses his voice, something funny that happens in the video, or how he looks. He uses colors and accessories I never would have thought of, and perhaps that is part of my interest – I can’t seem to use anything outside a very tight color scheme. It’s simply not my style to be bright and quirky, but that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy it.

Perhaps some people have reached the limits of quirky, but I don’t think GD has pushed there yet. He still seems sincere. The only times I wonder about his presentation is when he is doing something that other people do in rap videos – for the most part I think he understands his genre and has a lot of fun with its boundaries (for instance, he sometimes wears huge huge bling, but it’s usually weird – like a Mickey Mouse head). However, when I see standard rap props in his videos it seems odd and obligatory. (I’m actually creeped out by how well he can rap, but being the case that I dislike rap, I nearly never listen to “Leaders.”)

You watch something by GD long enough (or even soon enough) you will usually be surprised. People like to be surprised just a little. And rewarded. “The viewer should be rewarded.” It was something I learned straightaway at Finlandia. If someone is going to look at my art, they should be rewarded for their interest. Perhaps this is part of my interest in musicians like this.

I don’t necessarily know whether or not GD thinks that what he wears “looks good.” It seems he takes his art seriously. It seems like he puts a lot of thought into what he produces and how he appears, even though yes, he seems to have a bit of a casual style off-stage. Lots of musicians do this. Some people may see it as fake, but since I do this too I think I can explain it with one word: Performance. You have style, but there’s something about the idea of getting dressed up for a reason. Toning your style down once and awhile allows for greater experimentation with your image when you do dress up.

I respect that he takes his art so seriously, given his genre (what is it, anyway? I thought it was hip hop, but now I can barely classify him). Many people think that popular Korean music is pretty sub-par and samey, but it’s popular for a reason. I don’t see GD’s solo work as standard. I think it’s refreshing, powerful, and … sometimes strange. That’s OK with me.

I would like to believe he’s having fun with his appearance, and yes, he must think he looks good in it. Did I mention that I like artists with humor? Get a good look at the bunny bling he’s wearing. I was almost turned off of buying the TOP & GD collaboration album because that’s on the cover and I couldn’t think of anything more standard to put on a hip hop album – all about booties and bling, right? Well … it’s a hand forming a peace sign. When I noticed that, I just laughed. GD hadn’t gone off the deep end, after all. I bought the album. Thank goodness – and did that album ever deliver!

I think he’s truly talented. If you don’t, then don’t bother listening to his music. I don’t understand people wasting time on hate. You will never convince me to not like GD, and I will never convince you of his talent.

There are few artists who surprise me this much.

I will love and support GD’s music for as long as it happens.

I’m out.

This is Halloween!

•November 9, 2011 • Leave a Comment

So this year I am in Japan without my stash of cool stuff. I am only here for a year, and I don’t want to accumulate a lot of things because I’ll have to deal with them later. There is neat stuff in my studio back home anyway. So this year’s costume was more of an exercise in styling, though some minor alteration was performed on a pair of tiny angel wings. I went shopping with some friends and they were secretly confused by the weird stuff I bought, and were surprised to see what had come out of it. Art happens!

Well, it doesn’t just happen. It’s a lot of work. The wings I had bought were so small you could not see that I was wearing them. A random assortment of goodies all in white or silver affixed to the wings changed that. The day before the party I attacked the wings once more with the fashion designer’s best friend Safety Pin and second best friend Glue (or Hot Glue).

The beaded thing on top is an obnoxious necklace I made at the last minute when I realized I didn’t have enough pearls or silver. I like the concept of dekora quite a bit, but I tend to do it in monochrome or black and white.

Below a photo of my costume, which includes an assortment of 100-yen-store swag, goodies scored from thriftstores back home and in America, and sweet shoes. I’ll get another picture up of the costume later. Styling is just as fun as creating. You have to work with what you have. It’s a challenge! This isn’t really bragging (all right, maybe it is), but I’ve been doing this for so long that I always trust something will happen in the end even if it’s not what I intended. I know I can work with anything.

It was raining and kind of gloomy on this day, so I did not wear white face paint as I had intended. Am I getting lazy?

Me, Sylvain (on the pumpkin), and Nicki at a Halloween Party for children we ALTs took part in. Photo is shown here by courtesy of Sylvain~! Thank you!

obnoxiously cute

•October 1, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Because I said I’d upload pictures of our cute matchy outfits and I never did. Here you go! This is Jonathan and I at the drag show. Hat, headdress, flower pins, white fur wrap are by me. The white dress was a slip I altered completely into a dress, and the black one is also a dress that is sort of altered into a dress – it was more for the event than to be functional! We had a lot of fun running around in our fluffy obnoxiously cute outfits. April? May? April, I think.

Artists don’t sleep

•September 18, 2011 • Leave a Comment

I was asked to give a short speech on my holiday (summer holiday, I take it) or weekends and I had a moment of panic. When I have a block of free time I don’t pack up and head to the nearest water park. I pack up and move into the studio!

Not only that, but after I graduated school in 2010, I got a job. No more summer break. And I worked the weekends. There goes that. My last actual trip was to Japan in 2007. I worked as a chaperone on a trip to New Orleans the summer after that, but I don’t have my photos from either event. So I am stuck. I suppose my speech will be about how artists don’t sleep and don’t take vacations.

So what did I do on my spring break 2010? Worked on omena. I think I cranked out three to five of these outfits in that week.

Winter break 2009 went in a very similar fashion. That was all my prep work – patterning, research, etc. When I needed a break I just played video games. It should also be noted that I was also working on my first full-length comicbook for an advanced illustration class.

*    *    *

Summer 2009…. I worked as a seamstress and made garments with my friends for our “challenges.” For instance, the tea party challenge. We all made tea party garb. I have no idea why, but I can’t locate a photo of the dress. It was in the gallery and on the runway, and I’m positive I captured both. This merits further investigation.

*   *   *

Spring Break 2009 was spent throwing together a runway line-up because my proposed show Unbroken had been put on hiatus – difficulties arose. With only a week to go, I relied heavily on accessory and tried to make only a few dimple garments. My most vivid memory is of Proper Etiquette (properettiquette.biz) and I whirring through outfits, the machine noise, the fabrics flying all over, the scissors clanging on the table, right up until show night. It looked like a tornado hit the studio. This is what I came up with.

*   *   *

Much of winter break 2008/2009 was spent planning Unbroken, which was ultimately cancelled. In the last week I was also asked to do some sewing for a large community art project. It turned out to be too much work and I hired three friends to assist me. We spent a few days churning out fifteen gigantic fleece mittens. I believe the bulk of the mittens were cut out, and we had only to sew them together and create some designs (the one on the right was one required, and I made many of it). I can’t believe my sewing machine was able to handle it all. Have you ever sewn giant fleece mittens? It’s a nightmare.

*   *   *

Summer before that? Planning elusive, my first runway performance fashion.

I was also working with Upward Bound – went to New Orleans with them, as well. I also attended summer school, where I edited a 50,000 word novella of mine for a class. When I didn’t have a spring break to jump into the studio I was rushing there after work, before work, on the weekends, trying my best to get done whatever art could be done. Studio work that travelled with me was always easiest – illustration, prep work (research, pre-design, etc), and writing. I could set up at home!

Artists don’t sleep.

Well, actually, I do sleep. I don’t want to perpetuate a stereotype. I also don’t live on coffee. Sleeping and eating (mostly) right are important to me, so I try to not sacrifice either one even when I’m pulling 10 – 12 hour days in the studio. I do have a special ability to go without food for an entire day while working, but I don’t want to brag about it. It’s only in extreme cases. I simply can’t be bothered to eat – fast food disgusts me yet I don’t want to take the time to make something healthy. It’s a lose-lose situation.

Every waking moment, and some dream moments, are dedicated to all of my art and design forms. But I love it, so I usually don’t notice … until I write an entry like this. Video games count as research gathering for me. The stories are stimulating, the outfits are interesting, and the characters intrigue me. I come up with all sorts of inspiration for writing, drawing, and fashion. This is a good thing … sometimes I can play an awful lot of video games.

As a side note, I think vacations are important. The sites are different and therefore stimulate imagination. There are other reasons as to why I don’t travel – it’s called a lack of money. I travel with video games and books!

Inspirational Japan

•September 13, 2011 • Leave a Comment

As you may or may not know, I now live in Japan. I will be here for one year working. I’ve been trying to get myself invested in the art community; I have not even been here for a month, so I know it will take some time. Right now I am learning ikebana (flower arrangement – it’s a zen art. It came about around the same time as tea ceremony, I believe). But I’ve also been drawing in inspiration from everything around me – the colors, the patterns, the construction and techniques of various art forms. When I come back to America, I aim to have a gallery show of some sort. Most likely mixed media. I want to see it all – “Cool Japan” and “Traditional Japan.” I don’t intend to become prolific in any Japanese art form (not enough time); I just want to internalize the aspects I like most.

I leave you with these images of yamaboko (gigantic portable shrines). I was so fired up to make art after I saw these – it’s times like this when I truly realize what I am. I am an artist. I need to create.


I know these photos are not that awesome, but please don’t swipe them for any reason.