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Event / Fashion Native(X) Art Exhibit at Union/Pine. Posted by Katie Guinn on Tue, Oct 28, 2014 at 8:59 AM.
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November is Native American Heritage Month, and in honor of this, Native(X) has organized an event that celebrates authentic Native art. Mac Bishop, the man behind the event, gathered a group of artists and designers, both Native and non-Native (the latter mostly local) from all over the country to participate. There will be work on display by Yatika Fields ,Toma Villa. Jaque Fragua. and Cheyenne Randall and pieces by artist/designer Sho Sho Esquiro. Cheyenne Randall.
Sho Sho Esquiro. Also on display will be the debut of designer Dustin Martin's El Malpais Collection which consists of collaborations with many of our local talent, and was brought to life through a textile.
He first designed the fabric that would be woven at Pendleton Woolen Mills, and shared it with, Beam & Anchor. Lift Label by Bobby Bonaparte, Tanner Goods , Wood & Falk and Harding & Wilson. who then incorporated it into their own designs. The pattern isn't a typical brightly colored one that you might expect, but is rich still in its simplicity and has a fresh but authentic quality. After hearing about all this and seeing photos of the work that will be part of the exhibit, we wanted to learn more, so we got in touch with Dustin and Mac to catch some deeper back story. Mercury: What was the inspiration for this project/event? How long has it been in the works. Mac Bishop: In the last five years Native-inspired designs have been trendy in the fashion world.
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Most times, these designs are pumped out without the input of Native designers/artists. Where is the line drawn between appreciation of an aesthetic and misappropriation. When Dustin and I first started talking about this collaboration, we had the goal of sharing the beauty of Native design. We're advocating for thoughtful partnerships between the Native communities and the fashion industry. We initially focused on the scarf design with Pendleton.
And then once we had a solid product and a defined mission, we started getting more people involved, local businesses and organizations and artists from around the country. People were drawn to the mission of the project. Merc: How did you curate such a wide range of people from all over the country, to bring their work to Portland. Mac: Over the last four years I've been working with artists to help promote their work online through NATIVE(X). I've met these artists all over the place—whether it be Brooklyn studio visits or Dustin introducing me at the Santa Fe Indian Market or at fashion shows in NYC.
Mercury: Dustin, Can you tell us a little bit about your story and how you came to be a part of this project. Dustin Martin: I'm originally from "The Indian Capital of the World", Gallup, NM. This eclectic "border town" is the gateway to the Navajo reservation and a maze of natural wonders for visitors from around the world. Oddly enough I had to leave before I could begin to understand how lucky I was to grow up there. I went to high school in Albuquerque and college in New York City. Among many other things, these experiences affirmed that I would be hard-pressed to find another place with a culture and landscape as vibrant or diverse as Gallup's. Today, that culture and landscape are what I draw upon most for strength and inspiration.
When Mac first approached me about designing a pattern for the jacquard looms at Pendelton Woolen Mills I was flattered, intimidated and a bit suspicious. The opportunity seemed too good to be true and I was bogged down by the question of who would "own" my work when the collaboration was complete. Fortunately, my confidence as a designer grew quickly alongside my friendship with Mac. Not once did Native(X) try to influence my sketches one way or the other and I really appreciated that. Native(X) The textile being woven. In the end, it was the jacquard loom that had the most influence on the look of the scarf.
The parameters of the machine forced me to abandon many of the intricate details I sketched early on in the design process. These intricacies were replaced with asymmetric angularity.
I couldn't be more happy with the final product. The scale of the design makes for almost endless variability in the way it can be worn/cut/sewn. Consequently, I think the Portland collaborators had a bit more fun incorporating the fabric into their products than they would have if they were manipulating a more predictable pattern. Merc: Do you foresee more collaborations similar to this one in the future? Involving you and/or other designers. Dustin: Neither Mac nor I can make any solid predictions about the future of this collaborative opportunity. I think much of it will hinge on the success of this collection.
However, it is my sincere hope that many other Native artists and/or designers take part in a similar process for years to come. It was this possibility that convinced me to accept this project in the first place. Pendelton products are coveted in Indian Country like nowhere else. It only seems appropriate that Native peoples get the chance to be a part of their creation. Native(X) Beam & Anchor's interpretation of the textile. Native(X) Lift Label's piece.
This isn't an event that showcases work by a bunch of people just because they're American Indian, this is work by genuinely talented artists who are Native; my prediction is that it will be a stunning showcase.