DEFINE

Copy of dark-largeDEFINE is a collaboration between a photographer (Lance Kenneth Blakney), a clothing company (Wear Your Label), and a surface designer (Dee Wilkie – The Art Project) who all have one thing in common – They want to end the stigma and start the conversation around mental health by showing a raw and personal side to the struggles of real people.

Role Models were cast from across Eastern Canada; from Toronto to Fredericton to Halifax. From over 200 submissions we narrowed it down to one brave person to represent each of the nine categories.

What was the Art Projects’ role in DEFINE?  WYL has something called the bracelet project which unites fighters, survivors, and supporters.  Each colour symbolizes a different mental health challenge, and 10% of profits help fund their giving initiatives. Dee hand dyed silk in coordinating colours, and then helped style the silk in ways that demonstrate the feelings surrounding different mental health struggles.

After months of planning, interviewing, and shooting, here is the final result.  http://www.define-project.com/

D.W.

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S E V E N

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GLUTTONY – Photography: Lance Kenneth Blakney Model: Jessica Hughes Hair: Mike Drost MUA: Billy Peterson Fashion Design: Aly Keeley Silk Surface Design: Dee Wilkie
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LUST – Photography: Lance Kenneth Blakney Model: Kayley Reed Hair: Michael Drost MUA: Billy Peterson Fashion Design: Michelle Duncan Surface Design: Dee Wilkie
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ENVY – Photography: Lance Kenneth Blakney Model: Sophie H-L Fashion Design: Michelle Duncan Hair: Michael Drost MUA: Billy Peterson Surface Design: Dee Wilkie
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WRATH – Photography: Lance Kenneth Blakney Model: Gillian Glover Fibre Artist: Aly Keeley Hair: Michael Drost MUA: Billy Peterson Silk Surface Design: Dee Wilkie
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SLOTH – Photography: Lance Kenneth Blakney Model: Athenais Testi Hair: Michael Drost Fashion Design: Adrienne Goodine Surface Design: Dee Wilkie
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GREED – Photography: Lance Kenneth Blakney Model: Jake Clark Hair/MUA: Billy Peterson Surface Design: Dee Wilkie
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PRIDE – Photography: Lance Kenneth Blakney Model/Fashion Designer: Bronwen Robbins Hair/MUA: Billy Peterson Surface Design: Dee Wilkie

“SEVEN” was an idea I came up with almost a year ago when, one night, I started to get really envious of other people who were making their dreams come true and really “making it” in terms of their craft.  I didn’t just want to sit in my living room feeling jealous, so I decided I would make a piece on jealousy and envy as a productive outlet. Then I started getting more and more ideas and thought, “hey, why don’t I do a series on the seven deadly sins (pride, envy, wrath, gluttony, sloth, lust, greed)!?” I messaged one of my favourite local Photographers, Lance Kenneth Blakney, right away and told him about my idea. He was totally onboard and as enthusiastic as I was.

Of course I couldn’t do a project this scale on my own 😉  So I recruited a group of local fashion designers, hair stylists,makeup artists and models (read more about them here).  We did a professional full grade photoshoot for each look (the process stretched out over five months) and then finished it off with a gallery showing at the George Fry Gallery and a feature on CBC!

“Turn lemons into lemonade.”

D.W.

 

Everything Is Just Beachy

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Blue Silk Dress
Photography: Dale Preston http://www.prestonphotography.com Surface Designer: Dee Wikie. Fashion designer : Adrienne Goodine Model: Athenais Testi

On this snowy day in Fredericton New Brunswick, let’s all take a minute to remember why we choose to stay on the east coast.

“Dream higher than the sky and deeper than the ocean.” – unknown

D.W.

 

#fashion #surfacedesign #inspiration #summer #beach #ocean #model #handdyed #eastcoast #designers #Canada #dress #croptop  #maxidress #blog #ootd #stylediaries

 

DEFINE

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It’s funny how multiple people can get the same idea at once.  When this happens, I take it as a sign that we (the artists) are on track…whatever that means.  It feels, to me, like we are tapping in to something that is meant to be, something that is greater than us.   Wow! I have never sounded more like a hippy in all my life.

Anyway, back to the story.  Photographer, Lance Kenneth Blakney (who I have worked with before and hugely admire), and I sat at READS Coffee Shop talking about collaborations we were working on together and all things art related  (gosh I love those caffeine induced talks).  During this conversation, one of us (I am not sure who brought it up first) started talking about a photoshoot idea we had in mind that would portray mental illness and how it felt to have mental illness.  The other one was like “omg, I have had the same idea!”  We also had a similar idea of how we wanted the photos to look, not just the concept.

Since we have an AMAZING resource in Fredericton, whose main goal is to end the stigma surrounding mental illness, we immediately thought to contact Wear Your Label and bring them in on this idea.  Lance and I got in touch with Kayley Reed (co-founder of WYL) and she was immediately on board with the idea.

So here is where we are at so far with the project we are calling DEFINE:

Wear Your Label posted a casting call for “role models.”  We were looking for people who have suffered from mental illness who are willing to share their story and help end the stigma.  Last Friday night, Lance, Kayley, Addie Van Rijn (a WYL intern) and I, met to go over the near 100 APPLICANTS WHO APPLIED!! Thank you so much to everyone who was courageous enough to share their stories.

Addie read us story after story out loud in Kayley’s kitchen. It was super impactful for all of us to hear.  Something about reading all of the stories, one after another, really struck me. I still don’t know how to put into words exactly what it was that I felt…but it was meaningful.  Sometimes, after Addie read a story, Kayley would quietly thank that person (out loud) by name. Whether it was to herself or to the universe, I am not really sure. Either way it was beautiful and I felt like the applicants were there with us.

I will keep you posted on where we are at with DEFINE along the way. I encourage you to check out the WYL website and their story in the mean time. ALSO: WE ARE STILL TAKING APPLICATIONS FOR: Schizophrenia, PTSD, and Addictions.

“Mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of, but stigma and bias shame us all.” – Bill Clinton

D.W.

 

 

 

The Silk Canvas

 

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BURDEKIN – Photography: Brent McCombs Model: Katie McDonald (City Models) Fashion Design: Adrienne Goodine Hair: Tanya Ozolins MUA: Elizabeth Anne Stylist/Assistant: Sara Calhoun Surface Design: Dee Wilkie 
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SAHEL –  Photography: Brent McCombs Photo Assistant Elizabeth Anne Models: Athenaïs Testi Fashion Design: Adrienne Goodine Hair: Tanya Ozolins MUA: Julie Purchase Assistnat: Sara Calhoun Surface Design: Dee Wilkie
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CONNACHT – Photography: Brent McCombs Models: Ashley Shaw Fashion Design: Adrienne Goodine Hair: Tanya Ozolins MUA: Elizabeth Anne Assistant: Sara Calhoun Surface Design: Dee Wilkie 
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KYOTO – Photography: Brent McCombs Photo Assistant: Elizabeth Anne  Model: Libby Clement (City Models) Fashion Design: Michelle Duncan Hair: Tanya Ozolins MUA: Julie Purchase Stylist/Assistnat: Sara Calhoun Surface Design: Dee Wilkie 
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SARGASSO – Photography: Brent McCombs Photo Assistant: Elizabeth Anne Model: Steph McEwan Hair: Tanya Ozolins MUA: Julie Purchase Stylist/Assistant: Sara Calhoun Surface Design: Dee Wilkie 
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LUXOR – Photography: Brent McCombs Photo Assistant: Elizabeth Anne Model: Kristina Comuzzi (City Models) Fashion Design: Kayleigh Saad Hair: Tanya Ozolins MUA: Julie Purchase Surface Stylist/Assistant: Sara Calhoun Surface Design: Dee Wilkie

So last weekend, I had a photoshoot in Halifax with one of Atlantic Canada’s best photographers, Brent McCombs.  My girlfriend, Sara, offered to come with me and help out with the shoot (thank gosh she did because between her, Siri and the GPS, I was still stressin’).  It was the first time I had ever driven that far or driven in a city bigger than Fredericton.  Judge me.  I felt like this was a defining moment in my adulthood, and then there was a snow storm on top of it!  We made it safe and sound and as you can see above, the shoot was SO WORTH the drive!  I am so, so happy with how it turned out  (also, you need, need, NEED to check out this video that Brent made of our shoot!!  It shows just how much work went into it).

I also have to mention our kick ass team. Without them, this shoot would not have been possible.  From a top notch photographer; to a stellar hair and makeup team; to gorgeous, hardworking models; to moms shopping around for us, bringing colourful tights in for all the models; to the surface stylist/assistant doing all the little things that needed to be done…I could not have asked for a better group to work with!  I hate to sound desperate,  but PLEASE share these photos.  The work that went into them was unreal.  It might look like a model just laying on a pool of fabric that was haphazardly thrown on the floor, but trust me, it was so much more (again, please check out the video to see just how much work went into these pictures).

“You can mimic the result, but not the creativity.” – Sonya Teclai

D.W.

Feature Friday: Fredericton Fashion Council

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Photography: Scott Saad Model: Emily Dickinson Fashion Design: Lunar Offerings Surface Design: Dee Wilkie

“Just recently turning 4 years old, the Fredericton Fashion Council is continuing to develop into a name that people can rely on for all things local fashion. We keep our social media updated with upcoming fashion events in the area, design collaborations, job opportunities, local boutique sales, etc.

Our members consist of a variety of talented designers, beauticians, boutique owners, hair stylists, bloggers, and models all willing to collaborate and help each other further their goals in the fashion and beauty industries! We have helped host pop up shops, fashion events, and have held talks with successful people in local fashion business.

The above image was a collaboration completely made up of FFC members.

In January we started an official blog and since then it is being steadily filled with content by some of our multi talented members. We will have a few bloggers covering the NBCCD fashion show in April, and we are excited to say that Fredericton Fashion Council has someone to be press for us at Toronto Fashion week this year! We are also working on an FFC boutique space based out of Avenue Eighty-Five, a salon on northside Fredericton.  One of our long term goals is that we will be able to start offering a small annual scholarship for local fashion entrepreneurs. If things keep going well, this could start as early as 2017.

Everything is falling into place and heading in the right direction for FFC and we are always looking for new members! Please check out our blog, and all of the member benefits and information you need to join are on the right hand side bar. Also, follow us on FB!”
http://frederictonfashioncouncil.blogspot.ca/
https://www.facebook.com/FrederictonFashionCouncil

 

“Positive thinking isn’t about expecting the best to happen every time, but accepting that whatever happens is best for that moment.”

~Unknown.

Kayleigh Saad
President of the Fredericton Fashion Council

Feature Friday: Katie McDonald

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f51405050Photography: Greg Sino

Katie McDonald is one of the sweetest people I have ever worked with.  She is so positive and hard working, not to mention super talented.  I worked with Katie this fall and did a “dancing silk” photo-shoot which turned out to be one of my favorite shoots of all time.  (We are also working together this weekend with photographer Brent McCombs and I can not WAIT to show you the finished results!)  Below is a short interview with Katie so you can get to know her better.

What made you want to start modeling?
I have only been modeling since the late summer of 2015.  It all started when I was invited to participate in the 2015 Paris Dance Tour at a 5678 Showtime Dance Competition.  As part of this tour I had the opportunity to work with International Fashion photographer Greg Sino.  During the photo shoot he strongly encouraged me to explore modeling further.  Once I returned to Canada I kept in touch with him through Facebook.  In September he was in New York City for New York Fashion Week and he offered to create a modeling portfolio for me.  So, I flew down to NYC and spent the day with Greg, stylist Erika Degraffinreaidt and makeup artist Jennifer Green.  It was an absolutely surreal experience to spend a day taking pictures in Times Square with such an incredible group of people.  When I came home I created an online portfolio through Instagram and really things have just kept happening ever since then.  Through my Instagram account I met Halifax based photographer Brent McCombs and he has been a huge support, guiding me through the world of modeling here in Halifax.  I have had several more photo shoots, walked for two designers in Atlantic Fashion Week and have been signed by City Models.  Prior to meeting Greg Sino in Paris, I had never considered modeling. I am thankful to all the people I have met so far in this industry for seeing something in me that until now I hadn’t seen in myself.

What/who inspires you?
My mom inspires me because she works hard everyday and she keeps going even when things are difficult and this motivates me to pursue my dreams no matter what obstacles are thrown in my path.  I am also hugely inspired by Ballet Dancer, Juliet Doherty because she is a beautiful dancer who combines impeccable technique with a wonderful performance quality that I aspire to achieve in my dancing.

What is your favourite thing you have ever done with modeling?
Since I have started modeling I have had some amazing experiences and have met many wonderful and talented people.  My most favourite experience though has got to be flying to NYC for the day to do a photo shoot with Greg Sino.  This was my first introduction into the modeling world and it was just such an incredible experience!!  I also really enjoyed my photo shoot with Brent McCombs (Alterego photography) and surface designer Dee Wilkie.  Making Dee’s beautiful silks fly was so much fun!  I would have to say though that that day taught me how hard you have to work to get the perfect shot!!!  My legs were shaking by the end!!

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
In 5 years I hope to have completed the Jazz & Contemporary trainee program at the Joffrey Ballet School in NYC and be working with a contemporary dance company, pursuing my dream to become a professional dancer!  I am hoping too that I will be able to continue modeling as I really enjoy the process of working with so many interesting and talented people to create beautiful images whether on film or on the runway!

Do people think that modeling is easy?  Do you agree or disagree with them?
Yes, I think most people think modeling is just about smiling for a picture but it is about so much more than that!!  Models are visual artists.  Working with the designer, make up artist and photographer they create images that tell a story or cause an emotion.  Every wonderful image that you see in a fashion magazine or on the runway represents many, many hours of hard work and the collaboration of many talented people.  To be the face representing other artists’ work is a huge responsibility that a model must take very seriously!

Does Dancing help with modeling? Why?
There is a lot of similarity between modeling and dancing and the two really compliment each other.  Both models and dancers seek to impact how people feel.  I think my training as a dancer gives me the body awareness needed to create beautiful images and the ability to tell a story and project emotion in a more realistic way. The fluidity of body movement that is so important in dance is also important in runway modeling.  On the runway, I think that my dance training allows me to showcase the designer’s work with added poise and grace.

What is you favourite kind of dance?
I love the precision and technique of ballet but the freedom of movement and expression of jazz and contemporary dance.  Overall, I love how I feel when I am dancing, how the music flows through me and guides my movement.  I am happiest on the stage performing!

“Ballet is like dreaming on your feet.”

D.W.