Rising Artists of Orange County
Art is alive in Orange County. Local talent emerges constantly, and even though people typically look to L.A. for art in Southern California, we have more to offer than you’d think.
During an exhibit by the Orange County chapter of RAW, an independent artist organization, I was lucky enough to speak with three different artists who were showing their work. The first person I spoke with was M.o.M Cllct founder Myami, who gives new life to thrift shop garments as one-of-one pieces. I then got a chance to exchange words with Danielle Dorr, an apparel designer reframing feminine and Parisian aesthetics in her own image. Lastly, I sat down with Carmen Winter, an artist who creates intricate zero-waste sculptures, paintings and other installations through her Sustainable Secrets project.
Myami of M.o.M Cllct
I got to chat with Myami fairly early into the night. His clothes, boasting a bevy of colors, patterns and fabrics, caught my eye and I went to his booth to introduce myself. I wanted to find out what inspires him to create these items, and figured it would make sense to start at the beginning.
Although he’s been designing for five years, the path to his current creations starts even earlier. For as long as he can remember, he’s desired clothes made especially for him. This preference connects to his upbringing in Louisiana, where he lived until he moved to Southern California in 2016. He tells me the Louisiana attitude toward clothes centers around putting together what you have and assembling a look from there. He notices an opposing mentality in L.A., where people focus their style on the prominent trends of the moment. M.o.M Cllct (M.o.M stands for Mind of Myami) became his vehicle to bring the Louisiana mentality to the world.
His pieces begin their journey in the trendiest of places: thrift shops. He’ll gather an assortment of garments from these shops to bring to his workspace. From there, he picks pieces of each and assembles them, building new shapes and styles from ordinary items. There’s a shirt with four different color blocks and thick pockets, a flowing jacket sectioned into three different colors and fabrics, a sleeveless vest that transforms into a sweater, and many others. He doesn’t stick to signature designs, either; given his creative process, all his pieces are one-of-one.
In an effort to expand his horizons, he’s recently released a collaboration between himself and a special artist in his life:
“Her name is Adesina. [She’s] actually my girlfriend, and the story behind our ‘Reach Out’ [collection] is kind of simple, but complex. We decided to finally work with each other because we wanted to tell a story about being from different places and meeting and growing together. The ‘Reach Out’ moniker simply means [that] to be a better person, to live in a better world and achieve your dreams … you have to be willing to reach out to others for guidance and assistance. It’s not until we both started reaching out to people around us that we started to grow and become more of a power couple. [The collection] is a sign of our willingness to reach out to one another as we continue to help one another grow in our mediums.”
After speaking with Myami, I noticed some sharply dressed models standing on pedestals in the center of the venue. I was interested in finding the mind behind them, and after some searching we introduced ourselves.
Like Myami, Danielle Dorr is a fairly recent entrant into fashion, although the seed was planted some time before.
“My mom was always trying to suggest I take sewing classes, and I said no for a really long time,” explained Dorr. “It wasn’t until after I had been a hairstylist for five years that I was ready for a change and threw myself into fashion.
“I began fashion school in 2015. Prior to that, I had experimented with costumes and a few other items. Some were unsuccessful, and some were mediocre, but none of my designs came out as intended until I learned how to sew.”
Now that she’s taking advantage of her abilities, she wants to put a new spin on classics. “[For my latest collection],” she said, “ I was inspired by the Parisian style and menswear with feminine aspects.” The collection was also partly inspired by the RAW event.
“After investigating what it was, I thought it would be a fun opportunity to challenge myself by designing and creating eight looks in about five weeks. It was the first time I had ever heard of RAW, and I’m grateful to be a participant.”
Carmen Winter of Sustainable Secrets
“I’ve been creating art for as long as I can remember.” Carmen Winter told me. “I’d make mud sculptures in my parents’ backyard as a kid and I kept on going.”
It turned out her first creations would be a precursor to her current work. As a self-proclaimed Eco Artist, Carmen’s Sustainable Secrets project focuses on creating waste-free artwork using things like pulped paper, crushed glass, plastic and an assortment of other objects.
“There are several different reasons why I work with discarded materials as a medium,” said Winter. “One of those reasons is that I’m an artist: if you give me trash, I’ll [work to] transform it into something amazing. … I enjoy using discarded objects to show people that waste can be a viable material, and to bring awareness to the importance of recycling and reducing our negative impact on this planet.”
She utilizes these materials to create an array of creations, including sculptures, paintings and elaborate LED displays.
“I want to add to the landscape by providing more eco-friendly, zero-waste artwork to the scene,” she told me. “I plan on experimenting with more landfill waste this year, and I’ve been building small recycling equipment to help me process my art supplies easier.”
You can read more about her work, and purchase a piece for yourself, on her website.
Be sure to keep up with the Irvine Weekly to stay updated on future news from the local arts scene.