Looking to see up and coming Maryland, Virginia and Washington DC area artists? Then RAW Natural Born Artists DC is the event to checkout! RAW brings creative minds together to showcase their work within the different fields of art. From photography, to music, to fashion, and everything in between, this event, with the most recent theme Marvel, was a night of fun for artists and fans of art alike. Daraja Asili, RAW: Washington D.C’s creative director, puts on these events every two months so there are always fresh and talented photographers, fashion designers, makeup artists, painters, stylists and other unique forms of art. RAW Marvel DC was held on April 28th from 7-11pm at Penn Social in D.C.
Here are some highlights from the event:
Glenn Clevenger III, whose photography focuses on the positive moments in life, has always been a fan of art. His love of photographer helps him capture memorial moments. He gets his inspiration from everyday life, especially nature and working with kids and seeing their imagination run wild. Because he is inspired by nature and people, he wants to inspire everyone that he can with his work. His favorite aspect of photography, and film, is being able to touch someone’s heart and seeing people’s reactions to his work. Glenn has been in the field for approximately three years and RAW is definitely a highlight of his career. Glenn hopes that in the next five years he will continue to grow as an artist and person in this challenging, yet rewarding field of art.
Meaghan Kearon is an artist that uses her personal life and her love for Broadway and fantasy to help her put her ideas on canvas. Painting helps her escape and focus on what she has in her mind. Sometimes it’s a challenge to turn a great idea into something tangible. When it comes to where she pictures herself in a few years, Meaghan told us she wants to focus on the day-to-day and enjoy it as it comes. We definitely enjoyed looking through her Broadway inspired creations!
Dorothesa, artist for Dorjeanaetay, is a painter whose work also focuses on the positives of life. She is inspired by love, life, and nature, and one can see that in all of her paintings. It’s hard to believe that this talented beauty has not taken formal classes to learn her craft. Through observing her uncle paint, she was able to teach herself the basics of painting. She’s originally from California, but bravely moved to DC after her mother passed away. She hopes that in the next five years her work will be known worldwide, but that it will also be inspirational and impact people in a positive way.
We checked out crocheted flower canvas artwork by Sonia Grace Thangavelu. The combination of crochet and canvas was amazing! The texture, vivid color and 3D effect of the flower, made each piece unique. Chatting with Sonia gave me some insight into her free flow design process. She first started crocheting when she was about 10 years old. Developing a real passion for this type of craft, she realized that not many had thought to put it on a canvas and turn it into something you could put on a wall into your home. Sonia gets her inspiration from being outdoors, admiring the beauty, color, and uniqueness of nature. When being creative, Sonia likes to go with the flow and not plan anything beforehand, this helps her work remain different. Sonia hopes that her creative work will become international, and that she can also move to Los Angeles, California.
Thanks to Daraja Asili who is the RAW Washington DC Director, we were able to get backstage! Right before walking into a completely different world, we ran into Aaron Handy of Models INC. When asked what Marvel means to him, Aaron told us it means marvelous in the arts. He describes working on the fashion show as a journey. “From handpicking different artists, looks and themes, to seeing the last model walk the runway. It is a challenge, but a great one, because getting to work with creative minds and being able to overcome those challenges is a great feeling.” Kaleidoscope is the theme for the next show, and we have a feeling that Aaron, who has 9 years of fashion producer under his belt, pun intended, will help make the next show more marvelous than the last.
Being backstage right before runway shows gives you a feeling that is difficult to describe, the closest way to describe it is – amazing chaos. There is a ton of positive energy in the air, and everyone is feeding off of it.
Benaiah Grimes is the creative genius behind the unique shoes and jewelry that has formed the Peerless Paragon brand. Peerless Paragon shoes were featured in funky neon colors at the fashion show for RAW. Benaiah creates one of a kind, custom jewelry and shoes. Customers can pick from a variety of shoe embellishments such as rhinestones, chains, spikes, feathers and glitter. Creations are then sketched out before being designed to ensure the customer gets the perfect visual before their custom shoes are created. Peerless Paragon shoes have been online for about one and a half years. She gets inspiration from nature, abstract, edgy and raw art as well as her former passion for graffiti. Benaiah loves being creative and bringing her customers’ vision to life! She hopes to have her own boutique and carry designers from overseas to help bring some variety to the mix.
Tatiana Kolina is the fashion designer from sPACYcLOUd. Art, urban life, music, and indie films sparked her interest in fashion. Originally from St. Petersburg, Russia, she is also inspired by underprivileged families. She believes if you work hard, you will be able to achieve your dreams and goals. As to where you will be able to see Tati and her work she will be part of the Vans Warped Tour this June. We are looking forward to seeing more from sPACYcLOUd!
If anyone can work for herself, its Majic Aubert. She was the MUA for the fashion show, but that is just one of her many talents. Majic is also a photographer, graphic designer, stylist, does fruit carvings in her spare time, and hopes to become a fashion director. Growing up in Thailand, Majic gives a fresh perspective with her makeup and beauty looks for the DC area. The face and body makeup she chose for the show featured bright neon colors, cat eyeliner and glitter. The inspiration behind the makeup was a mix of her Asian background and urban street style to create a look that was uniquely her own. Aubert also styled the geisha street look for her show and created the funky silver and gold spiked necklaces for the models. Majic did graphic design for a magazine in Thailand before she moved to the United States in 2005, which helped her gain interest in makeup and photography. Majic loves mixing the unexpected together and creating beautiful art inspired by nature, pop culture, neon brights and Asian culture. Majic’s audience is targeted to the younger crowd that likes trendy and funky styles, but she also does softer makeup for weddings, engagement parties and other events where she also shows her amazing photography skills. Majic loves to mix Asian and American cultures to create a unique look and hopes to incorporate that into a future career as a fashion director.
Jarmal Harris is a young designer that has definitely mastered multitasking! He was able to answer our questions and make sure his models looked fabulous for the runway. Jarmal gets his inspiration for fashion from magazines, architecture, movies and much more. Aside from his great designs, Jarmal also started the Jarmal Harris Project, which is a non-profit performing arts fashion show production. If that wasn’t enough, Jarmal recently did a 3 week internship with Cesar Galindo, yes, Cesar Galindo from Bravo’s the Fashion Show, and will soon be working for the designer! In addition to that, Jarmal has also shown at New York Fashion Week, and if you have been living under a rock, that is a prestigious achievement for fashion designers. Jarmal describes his collection as “After 5 elegant” and his favorite part about being a fashion designer is seeing his clothes hit the runway. Jarmal We look forward to seeing Jarmal grow and what his creative mind comes up with next.
We chatted with three of Jarmal Harris’ models, Keyonna Bolden, Shanice Wright, and Nikole Bouknight. The ladies said they get a bit nervous before a show, but all three have done about 10 shows each so pre-show jitters are becoming smaller and smaller. All three agreed they love to model high-end, over-the-top dresses because of how glamorous and intricate it is. When asked what it has been like to work with Jarmal the ladies couldn’t applaud him enough, saying that he “has been great, like family.” Keyonna, Shanice, and Nikole aspire to model for New York Fashion Week, and we hope to see them hitting more runways very soon!
In addition to photography, art, and fashion, there were also great musical and choreography acts. Performing artists like Emy&Ethan, Flo Anito, and DC Casineros as well as other artists, also put on one heck of a show, sharing their songs and dance moves with the audience. Photography by Dancing Squirrel, the nature inspired paintings of Vera Gridasova and the street style graffiti art of DEZ Customz were also feature at RAW. DEZ customz really took art to another level by turning shoes into a work of art. He started with men’s street shoes and after a recommendation from his wife decided to try his talent on a pair of heels. The result was absolutely CHIC! What woman wouldn’t want a custom pair of artwork on their feet? Shoes can either make or break the outfit! I’m sure owning a pair of these would get an endless amount of compliments!
The Mz Mahogany Chic staff had a great time meeting the artists and are looking forward to the next RAW shows and seeing all the new and amazing local talent.
Contributors: Ana Lucas and Jessica Daley