Redefining Art by Incorporating Fashion


Janet Tumaini| THE SPECTRUM
TraiCeline Pratt, an NDSU student, debuted his fashionable art.

As the semester comes to a close, some students are preparing for graduation in December while others are showing off their hard work. For TraiCeline Pratt, his busy semester has led to one big final project, one he completed with three other visual arts students.

As a visual arts major, students are required to create a collection of work to exhibit publicly during their last semester to prepare them for the future. But for Pratt, this was an opportunity to redefine what classifies as “art.”

The visual arts and apparel studies student combined his love for fashion and art in his exhibition line titled, “The Sante Maressa Collection.” The exhibit debuted Nov. 21 at the Memorial Union Gallery.

Pratt took his craft of sewing women’s gowns and gave it an artistic meaning. His line consisted of editorial images of models in his exhibited gowns, sketches of the gowns and the four gowns he made the past few months.

Pratt answered questions at the exhibit about the philosophy behind his work and its correlation to art as well as the creative process.

Janet Tumaini| THE SPECTRUM
A fashion piece from the exhibit ‘The Sante Maressa Collection.’

Janet Tumaini (JT): Can you tell me a bit about the gowns and how the vision came to be?

TraiCeline Pratt (TP): By studying the female human body, I was able to build a personal connection with it, like how to fit the body properly … I want to glorify the female body in the best way possible unlike what you might find at (a) retail store that isn’t made for one’s unique figure.

A lot of my gowns have lace in them or have sheer fabrics, and it is my way of promoting positive body esteem.

The dresses’ concepts came from the dreams that I had … There were times that I would wake up in the morning at like 3 a.m. and started sketching because I didn’t want to forget the vision.

JT: Looking at this from a traditional standpoint, most people would say that your exhibition is more fashion than it is art. How were you able to convince the art directors that this fit the criteria?

TP: They were seeing the work separately at first. I was bringing in piece by piece, and they weren’t quite understanding what I wanted to portrait, but when they saw everything together and I revised my artist statement they were able to understand where I was coming from.

I feel as if today’s world, and especially in fashion, people just glorify the final piece rather than glorifying every bit of the process that went into the making of that piece, and I wanted to show that every part of my process in making these gowns is important and part of the art.

Janet Tumaini| THE SPECTRUM
An off-the-shoulder gown made of sateen, organza and lace.

JT: What inspired you for this collection?

TP: I am inspired by my mother and the thinkers of the Renaissance, like Marsilio Ficino, who argued that humans are creators who love and before we love we must first see the beauty in things … The creative process of both fashion and art have so much beauty in them and I needed to harness that beauty so that people can see how beautiful it is visually, thus my combining of fashion and art as one.

JT: What is the story behind the title ‘The Sante Maressa Collection’?

TP: The title of my collection is actually named after my girlfriend; her first name is Sante and her middle name is Maressa, and the reason why I choose this title is because for most of these gowns I used her body for fittings and I was intimate with her figure in that process, hence, why I named the collection after her.

Janet Tumaini| THE SPECTRUM
The sketch for the off-the-shoulder dress shows the process of fashion.

JT: Where do you see yourself in the next few years with your talent?

TP: My overall plan is that I hope to work at a fashion company for some years after graduation, but, aside from that, I hope to continue to create gowns for display in galleries … incorporating the whole process in that as a designer and artist.

The gowns I create for exhibit purposes will not be for sale nor will I be creating more than one of each. I treat them like art pieces.

To witness this unique vision, “The Sante Maressa Collection” is on display at the Memorial Union Gallery. The exhibit is open now through Dec. 6. The gallery is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is free for anyone to enjoy.

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