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Monday, 29 October 2012

Dressing the stars: costume designer Andrea de Araujo

Swedish Mafia video.
Styling by Franck Chevalier and Andrea De Araujo
By T. Madison

If you love music, film or pop culture, you've likely seen the work of costume designer and stylist Andrea de Araujo.

Six years ago, Brazilian-born Araujo had just completed University in San Francisco, California and decided to relocate to Los Angeles shortly after, in pursuit of her vision of working in the entertainment world. But, the hard work was only the beginning. Without knowing a soul in a new city of opportunity, Araujo was guided by her intuition whilst finding work in an area that she could feel passionate about: costume and styling.

Having a background in theatre and costuming, she was able to sharpen her skills by steady work and a clear vision of what she always wanted to do with her future.

It wasn’t long before she met others who also shared the same adoration for creativity. After a callback from a friend, she had landed a job working with famed photographer and artist, David LaChapelle.

“I have been very lucky,” said Araujo.

The electrifying yet busy times were steering swiftly ahead: from designing costumes and working on short films to assisting prominent directors and stylists.

In fact, one of her favourite projects was a Swedish House Mafia video where she worked alongside acclaimed stylist, Franck Chevalier, designing and building avant-garde costumes. “It was amazing work but also an amazing challenge,” said Araujo.

Typically, when preparing for styling gigs, she may pull ten racks of clothing all ranging from different eras, locations, and silhouettes.

“I am constantly going back to history, for example, it may be jacket styles from ten years ago, one top from one [fashion] house, and a belt from New York … it’s a lot of work,” said Araujo.

Those pieces are then connected to create one or multiple looks. Unlike mainstream fashion, Araujo doesn’t work off of current trends or keeping up with hues of the season. Instead, she’s part of another world of fashion storytelling, all by character development. Sometimes it may be in a commercial and other times in film.

“I prefer commercial styling because of the fast pace. The best part of styling is when I create and build the costume, I choose from beginning to end, create the fabric, and when I see that an agency sees it and smiles, that makes me happy,” she explains.

After living in Los Angeles Araujo knew that working in the entertainment world could indeed be her true passion.

“Trust your instincts. I’ve always understood colour, fabric, and the history of fashion, I’ve never really been into traditional fashion… sewing was never my thing. My desire for life is my passion, and I love what I do,” said Araujo.

So, how does the sought-after costume-designing stylist keep her ego in check? “I am grounded because of my culture. I don’t want to become a rude person to be the best in the world. You can with a good attitude.”

Currently Araujo is working as one of the costumers in the up-coming Sofia Coppola film, The Bling Ring, starring Emma Watson.
Watch Andrea de Araujo's styling work for the Swedish House Mafia music video below:

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Monday, 15 October 2012

MINSHALL MISCELLANY an exhibition of the artist’s precious early works

Exhibition shows another side of Minshall

Patience and persistence are paying off for art-gallery owner Yasmin Hadeed. “Year after year, for about five years, I asked Ashraph, let’s do a show with Minshall,” recaps Hadeed. “This year, I spoke to Ashraph every day for like a month—I’m  obsessed.” Hadeed, 41, owner of Y Art Gallery, and Richard Ashraph Ramsaran, 46, artist and owner of the Frame Shop, finally got the timing right. When Ashraph approached Peter Minshall around the Independence holiday with a proposal, Minshall was receptive.
Yasmin Hadeed, of Y Art Gallery, left, and Richard Ashraph Ramsaran, right, listen attentively to artist Peter Minshall in his studio at Federation Park.
But when they got the green light, they would have only three weeks to explore the treasure trove at the Callaloo Company warehouse, survey works in Minshall’s studio, research, edit, sequence the show and produce a catalogue. “It was never about doing a Carnival show,” affirms Hadeed, “it was just about doing a show by him.” The show offers viewers an abridged chronological journey of the artist’s career, but bypasses his impressive imprint on the Olympic Games
“There are about 45 pieces for this show,” estimates Hadeed. “I have always been interested in seeing the works of Minshall, and have more or less always kept abreast of what he has done. It was not necessary for me to preview the work to determine which to choose, since, in my opinion, they are all breathtaking. “However, due to the time frame and scale of what we wanted to achieve we decided on this amount.”
Hadeed anticipates an overwhelming response to this show. “This is a pivotal moment for an art collector, gallery owner or someone who appreciates the arts generally. We are showing another side of Minshall. It is important for us to give our appreciation to him for his contribution to the art community as a whole, not just as a masman.”  
Minshall Miscellany loosely traces the career of a versatile artist who earned an Emmy Award for his designs. The exhibit is intimate and has an ebb and flow that befits a designer of drama and queens. The show includes paintings for commissioned works and the mas band Tantana. Three decadent renditions of elegant and intricate designs for Jaycees Carnival Queen contestants open the show. They date from the 1970s, and are set beside illustrations of stage designs Minshall executed during his years in London, which preceded his involvement in the Jaycees pageant.
Like many artists, Minshall believes the understanding of design principles is transferrable to other creative disciplines. “Because you didn’t really have any understanding of what art was,” reflects Minshall, in the second person, on his youth. “Everything was everything. Hollywood, Esther Williams, Ziegfeld Follies, The King and I, and art exhibitions were all one and the same. You had absolutely no sense of discrimination. 
“So there was this Jaycees Carnival Queen, there were costumes for it and dresses, and you were hardly 16 or 17 and you had a bash. And you did it in the style of the time. And it was like designing the colours for jockeys who rode horses at races. The Jaycees Carnival Queen was like a horse race. It didn’t matter that most of the horses were fillies and white. The whole of the country bet on them as if it were a horse race. The evening gowns had to have a theatrical, dramatic edge. These weren’t gowns that young ladies would wear to a cocktail party. These were gowns on a very large stage, so they had to have evening gown fashion/theatre about them.”
“I do feel anxious,” admits Hadeed, who has been a gallery owner for 20 years, and has exhibited most of T&T’s prominent visual artists. “It has been an amazing opportunity to showcase Minshall at my gallery. Angel Astronaut stands out to me, it represents a complete embodiment of what he is about.” The most challenging aspect of the editing process for Ashraph and Hadeed was reducing how many of Minshall’s “heads” are included. That outlined profile of a bald man’s head set in a circle is synonymous with Peter Minshall.  It seems he has produced hundreds of works, each unique, around that head which he found in a photograph on the cover of a 1966 Carnival supplement.
“Everybody thinks it is me. No it’s not me,” declares Minshall, 71. “I was so fascinated by this head. I don’t know who he is, but it connected with me in a visceral way. He became my everyman, and I call him The Coloured Man. My first exhibition of paintings, many years ago, ran by that title, The Coloured Man. He reappears in this exhibition.  That is why the exhibition is called Minshall Miscellany. I have returned to him many times during my life and he has not in any way lost his potency. 
“And it’s amazing that people absolutely think it’s me. It’s some person who I don’t know who is my everyman, and everywoman. The face so lends itself, chameleon-like, to become whoever or whatever. He becomes a macaw, he becomes Princess Diana, Marilyn Monroe, just give him the right accoutrements and he plays his mas perfectly.” The work that ends the show’s sequence, however, is a self-portrait. 
Minshall reserves the backstory to the piece. “People are going to go into the gallery and see the work, I don’t want to destroy the magic of the work. “The name of it is Face-off: The Artist Sober and The Artist Drunk. That says it, doesn’t it?  I am there contemplating myself. Please look at the exhibition, and when you look at it, understand how complex each and every one of us as human beings are, from the beauty queen to the two gentlemen sitting on bar stools contemplating one another—one sober, one drunk.  “I have to thank Ashraph and Yasmin for bending my arm,” adds Minshall. “My one contribution to the exhibition that makes me sit pretty and happy is the unpretentious title that I gave it—Minshall Miscellany.”
Minshall Miscellany opens Sunday, October 21, 2012 at 3 pm and runs through November 5, 2012 at the Y Art Gallery, 26 Taylor Street, Woodbrook. For more information visit 

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Saturday, 13 October 2012

Mas now copyright protected

Mas now copyright protected | Trinidad Express Newspaper | News
legal process: TTCO president, left, Vijay Ramlal, Annabella Davis, legal adviser, and Mahindra Satram, NCDF chairman, display an agreement during yesterday's launch of the Trinidad and Tobago Copyright Collection Organisation at the Cruise Ship Complex, Wrightson Road, Port of Spain. —Photo: CURTIS CHASE

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Carnival Draws Thousands To Sun Life Stadium (Photos)

By Kareem Shaker
For Dr. Raja Narine, Miami Broward One Carnival and its scantily-clad outfits are a guilty pleasure. "My patients would be shocked," said Narine, a native of Trinidad and Tobago. "It feels good to let loose and celebrate our culture."

Narine and thousands of other native Caribbeans -- as well as lovers of the region, and a good party -- gathered around 18-wheelers packed with speakers Sunday at Sun Life Stadium. About every nation that celebrates the massive worldwide event was represented Sunday. Belize, Jamaica and the Virgin Islands (among many others) all celebrate Carnival at different times of the year, but Sunday it didn't matter when your native country celebrated. Islanders of all types donned fascinating costumes and extremely revealing outfits, gathering around nearly 30 "Custome Mas Bands" parade floats.

Folks had spent between $200-$1000 on costumes with large head dresses and elaborate sequins cost.

The parade, which was scheduled for noon, didn't take off until nearly 2 p.m. That was far from the concern of attendees, who passed the time mingling and pounding drinks near the entrance. The party went well into the night, culminating near dozens of Caribbean food vendors serving up ox tails and jerk chicken. That gave Short Order plenty of time to snap pictures of extravagant sights.

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Thursday, 4 October 2012

Final farewell for 9-time Carnival King Vieira

Family members of nine-time King of Carnival Geraldo Vieira bear his casket after yesterday's
funeral service at St Theresa's RC Church in Barataria. —Photo: CURTIS CHASE
While the achievements of masman Geraldo Vieira were being extolled inside St Theresa's Roman Catholic Church, Malick, Barataria, yesterday, on the outside several of his lifelong friends were sharing stories of the man who they say loved life, his family, Carnival and having a good time.
And although tears flowed for the former nine-time King of Carnival there was a lot of laughter as his colleagues remembered how he made them laugh back in their youth.
Vieira succumbed to heart failure on September 22, leaving behind what many in the Carnival fraternity believe is a great legacy of mas production and presentation.
He was an innovator who while preserving the almost lost traditional crafts and skills involved in creating mas costumes, incorporated into his creations the latest in digital technology to enhance whatever he was portraying.
That, said National Carnival Bands Association (NCBA) president David Lopez, was what always kept Vieira ahead in the art form.
The mas fraternity came out in their numbers to say farewell to Vieira, packing the church to capacity and spilling out to the courtyard.
At the entrance to the church there was a large flat-screen television with photographs of Vieira from his youth to not long before his passing. Also shown were images of the costumes, both kings and queens, he designed and built over the years.
Vieira was born in Barataria in 1938 and grew up with a passion for Carnival arts and the creation of form and structure. In 1959 he began his mas-making career in earnest, learning how to do wire bending and other craft from renowned masman Cito Valesquez.
They produced the band titled Fruits and Flowers that year, with Valesquez doing the fruits and Vieira creating the flowers.
A master structural engineer and very inventive designer, Vieira went on to work with other Carnival greats including Harold Saldenah, Hilton Cox, Stephen Lee Heung, Peter Minshall and Wayne Berkley.
Along with masmen with whom Vieira had worked and played with since his youth, the funeral was attended by members of the NCBA executive, of which Vieira was a part up to the time of his passing.
Also paying respects was former minister of culture Joan Yuille Williams, Minister of The Arts and Multiculturalism Lincoln Douglas and bandleaders Brian MacFarlane, Rosalind Gabriel, Trevor Wallace and artist/calypsonian Bill Trotman.

By Wayne 

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