An Ode to Alexander (Lee) McQueen (Urchin Masks)

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Be still my creative heart. 

As a really young kid, I always loved masks. I don’t know why. I never wore masks. They were not part of some tradition. I just thought they were cool. Masks and headdresses.

Why we don’t as a culture wear more headdresses is beyond me. It’s likely because they are heavy and unnecessary, and since covid, we’ve all adapted more or less to a sweatpants loving culture. Headdresses sound like the ultimate mode of discomfort.

But artistically! Like candle headdresses and bone masks, urchin masks… Oh my. It turns out to be a winning combo… Almost like a cross between Davvy Jones from the “Pirates” movie and high fashion. I also just love the rendering of this early ai face sculpture. It’s appalling and captivating, and organically unique. 

As a teenager, the act of creation was an all-encompassing affair for me, blurring the lines between attire and art. My hands, which found their first love in the cool touch of sculpting clay, also learned the language of fabrics and thread, piecing together garments that told stories. My prom dress, a canvas in motion, came alive with integrated lights that unveiled silhouettes of Indonesian shadow puppetry and stark, contrasting cutouts reminiscent of Klimt’s “The Kiss.” It was a wearable narrative, a fusion of my passion for sculpture and storytelling.

This interdisciplinary approach to art led me to the halls of RISD, where the paths of sculpture, industrial design, fashion, and film beckoned. It was there that a professor’s insight steered me towards film and animation, recognizing in me a storyteller whose voice sought the expansive possibilities that only this medium could offer. Yet, the other disciplines lingered in my heart, each with its own siren call. And it was the tragic passing of Lee McQueen, the creative force behind Alexander McQueen, which reaffirmed my belief in the limitless potential of fashion as a form of storytelling. The “Savage Beauty” exhibition at the MET wasn’t just a showcase of McQueen’s genius; it was a transformative experience, a vivid reminder of how fashion can transcend the runway to become moving, breathing art.

Now, as I venture into the realm of AI, I find it to be a digital atelier where the legacies of great artists like McQueen can be reimagined and reborn. With each command and click, I engage in a dance of co-creation with the machine, a pursuit to capture the essence of McQueen’s vision and infuse it with new life. This is the true beauty of AI in the hands of an artist: it becomes a medium through which the past is not merely remembered but is actively conversed with, allowing the spirits of those who have shaped us to continue shaping the world in new and unexpected ways.