Corsets, lightbulbs and paint

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Arts & Life editor Gianluca Inglesi looks at how Rye artists get from sketch pad to final product in time for the end of year shows

Stress levels are high across the graduating class of the Faculty of Communication and Design. Artists are devoting late nights to complete some of their best work yet for viewing in Ryerson’s end of year shows.

When Andrew McGill set out to create his fourth-year new media thesis project he wanted to harness his obsession with light and energy.

The piece entitled Contact 4444 will be displayed in META, the fourth-year new media show, to which McGill is still adding finishing touches. To incorporate text into the structure, he used incandescent light bulbs that are spaced four inches apart on a solid steel grid the size of an amp.

McGill said he would be selfish in saying his project was a solo act. Though it was his original idea, he has received help from people around him.

“Friends, colleagues and professors have helped me with elements of my piece. My own family is giving me lots of support; my dad is really knowledgeable as a welder and electrician.”

In the fashion studios, fourth-year design students have been working on collections for Mass Exodus, their end of year show, since September.

Andrea Leask, head of wardrobe for Mass Exodus, describes the first step as having to submit designer packages in the first month of school, complete with all sketches and technicals for their collection.

Next, they had to create muslins from their sketches, a rough draft of each piece, eventually determining what fabrics and patterns to build their final pieces with.

And during the winter semester each week they had to complete one look for the runway – their collection totalling five looks should be ready for the Zenith + Nadir stage in the coming weeks.

“Some collections are extremely extravagant,” Leask said.

Among them is a costume collection, which in its intricacy involves corsets and other pieces that designers are not accustomed to making. Bridal collections include luxurious but massive dresses that involve drafting what seems to be endless yards of fabric. Across the spectrum one menswear designer has four to five pieces per look, which is far more than anyone else.

Many fourth-year Mass Exodus designers have contracted portions of their work, but it has not always been a complete success, according to Leask.

“It may seem like an easier option, but a lot of designers had to end up redoing things themselves because they weren’t satisfied with the contracted work. It put them behind schedule,” Leask said.

Andrea Pelletier, a fourth-year photography student, used multimedia to create her portion of the Maximum Exposure gallery, titled Summer.

She used a three-part process to create a soft and dreamy image of a campsite in the middle of the warm, sunny months. She took the original photos last summer when she was on a camping expedition with friends. In September she painted versions of the scenes. And then she eventually used scanning techniques to bring it all together.

“What I like about it is that it’s not as perfect as a mass produced photo. The brush marks aren’t always in the lines and there are splash marks and other tiny imperfections that for me add to it,” Pelletier said.

Pelletier is deciding how much of her process she wants to show to her audience. By showing the original photographs, the paintings, the scans and the finished product will add a desired ambiguity to her work she said.

“You have to ask yourself where it started. Whether it’s that moment on the lake or the painting of it. I like to ask questions of my audience instead of telling them everything.”

—With files from Brian Boudreau

Photo courtesy of Andrew McGill

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