Art and couture meet in Parallel Fashion 

click to enlarge Andrew Severns, "Open Void"
  • Andrew Severns, "Open Void"

Andrew Severns is operating in the fourth dimension these days. Well, we all are, those of us living in spacetime; but Severns, a graffiti artist now working out of the gallery he co-founded, Voir Art, has based his most recent work around his contemplation of what he describes as the “thought landscape.”

Don't let that intellectual heavy lifting fool you, though; Severns still has a foot planted firmly in our everyday 3-D world. Witness Parallel Fashion, an art and fashion show taking place Saturday in the Amber Room at Old National Centre. Severns and Katie Henderson of Naptown Hip Hop Congress put the show together with the intent of, as Severns puts it, “blurring the line between art and fashion,” with the hope that “artists will be inspired by fashion designers, and vice versa.”

click to enlarge Andrew Severns
  • Andrew Severns

Henderson and Severns have collaborated before, on a graffiti and breakdancing themed art show called The Study of Style. They've divided duties down the middle this time around, with Henderson handling the fashion component of the show and Severns shepherding the visual art side. There are some familiar faces on both sides of the spectrum; up and comers too.

A couple NUVO cover subjects will show their work: Lobyn Hamilton, who has pictured Lauryn Hill, Angela Davis, Bob Dylan and The Beatles in his vinyl-based collages; and Ben Rose, the photographer, filmmaker and writer who's hard at work on a feature-length script he hopes to get into production in early 2012. Also involved are both principals behind Voir Art: Severn and his collaborator, J. Chin, a California native whose works find theater masks embedded in blooming graffiti landscapes.

Rounding out the art side of the show are Brad Taylor, a Herron grad telling Gorey-style fairy tales via woodcut; Randy Piotrowski, whose preview piece on the Parallel Fashion website has a certain lurid creepiness; Andrew Leonberger, a multi-media artist working in Cheerios (among other materials); and Justin Cowan, co-owner of NY Slice and owner of Served, who finds inspiration in the Cookie Monster.

The fashion side of the show will feature work ranging from, according to Henderson, “vintage street apparel to couture designs,” presented by a majority of local artists. The Detroit-based Honeyboom Clothing is the sole outside party, with a line of streetwear and designs for the B-boy and B-girl. The locals are Sheila Ferguson (Jealousy Jane, whose punk-inspired work wouldn't be out of place on a B-52), Jhanelle Baker (JH Fashion, presenting womens couture fashion), Arela Brown (the Christ-centric Kadosh Clothing), Victorious Clothing (a T-shirt line) and Securittee Brown (Madame Couture).

click to enlarge Dress by Securittee Brown.
  • Dress by Securittee Brown.

Brown, a Chicago native who has worked her way up the ranks by interning with the Indiana Black Expo fashion show and Midwest Fashion Week, will present women's couture fashion at Parallel Fashion. She's presently at work on her first full line, a spring collection she describes as both “feminine” and “edgy,” “a mixture of light and dark.” Brown can point to influences from the fashion world (Christobal Balenciaga, Bob Mackie, Chanel); but, for her, “music plays a tremendous part as inspiration,” notably Rihanna and Beyonce, two “strong, fashion-savvy women.”

Music will naturally play a part in the multi-disciplinary showcase on the whole; the lineup includes K. Sabroso, EJAZZ and the Cranes, Circle City Deacons, TJ Reynolds and the Freehand Orchestra and Sea Monkey. Proceeds from Parallel Fashion will go towards Circle City Culture, an initiative of Naptown Hip Hop Congress which presents educational programming in IPS schools.

“Circle City Culture's mission is to provide the youth of the Indianapolis area with the educational curriculum and foundational building blocks of the Hip Hop culture to cultivate self-confidence, self-expression, and personal artistic growth to strive for creative excellence,” Naptown HHC's Henderson says. “Our entire curriculum supports the Hip Hop values of acceptance, non-violence, creative self-expression, and physical fitness.”

Which brings it all back to the fourth dimension, which, considering Severns' take on things, ought to inspire all and sundry to aid his or her fellow human being.

“Every thought you and others have influences everything around you,” he says of life in the fourth dimension. “For instance you cannot have a thought about a person without it affecting that person, and you cannot have a thought about the world without it affecting the world.”

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Scott Shoger

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Bio:
Scott Shoger staggered up to NUVO's door one summer afternoon, a little drunk, poor and crazy-haired, muttering about future Mayor Ballard. He was taken in, hosed down, given NUVO-emblazoned clothes to wear and allowed to work in exchange for food and bylines. Refusing to leave the premises, he was hired on as... more

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