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Eiligh Orff
Kokoscnik Inspired Headpiece

crystals, brocade, cardboard, sewing, glass beads, pearls, chiffon, and headband
11″ x 5.5″


Alex Rowe, Illustrator & Children's Book Artist

Alex Rowe
Illustrator & Children’s Book Artist

Artist Statement
“I am 17, an illustrator and milliner, and I am for the most part a self taught artist. I sew a bit as well. My influences come from a lot of historical fashion/costume, fantasy work, and cultural pieces.

The inspiration for this piece came largely from Russian Kokoshnik headpieces and other eastern European bridal headpieces. I’m also quite inspired by Madonna-esque silhouettes in my work. A sort of halo appears often in both my 3D and illustration.

I am not really trained at all in making headpieces/hats, I’ve created my own way of putting them together, and overall my method is: chaos. I never did a sketch for this particular piece, I just went into Michael’s and laid the materials out to make sure they would suit each other.

From my original inspiration of Kokoshniks, I had a general idea of how I wanted the beading to be placed, and made it up as I went along. It took me perhaps a total of 6 hours to complete it. I myself am modeling it, with make up I made up on the fly,  and I am now wondering if perhaps I should have sent photos of it on a head form instead. In your opinion, does my presence seem to detract or add to the piece?”

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Video Transcript

“This is such a fun piece and it opens up us viewers into this world you’re creating like culturally inspired but also with a hint of fantasy in there. I think that how I would take this further is, I would advise you to explore different fabrics and different materials. Look into places like antique shops, thrift shops, things like that just kind of keep your eyes open for those small little bits that you think ‘Oh yeah, that would really help push this piece and make it exciting and new.’ So yeah, exploring that realm.

Also, you asked about whether or not your face included in the photograph is a little distracting and I don’t find it to be so. Because, I think that the makeup you’ve applied helps to incorporate you into the piece. However, the background is just another room, so what I would say in the future is to photograph the work, but be intentional about that. Just as intentional as you are about creating the piece.

Now whether that means it’s a clean white studio background or what I would recommend is kind of build that world as well into the fabric in the background and the setting that the photograph is in. I think that would be a way to kind of take this to the next level and really explore and kind of be intentional with the thought of the background, the makeup as you are, and the whole piece in general and I think then it’ll come out really clean and really nice.”

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1 responses on "Eiligh Orff"

  1. It’s great to see you working so fearlessly in a style/media you aren’t very used to working in. Furthermore, it’s very impressive to see you create an entire persona to go with the headpiece. It would’ve been very easy to end this piece at the headpiece, but you took it a step further by modeling it , finishing up the entire wardrobe, and creating a very elaborate makeup style to go with it.

    I would agree with Alex in that the backgrounds could use some work in these images. An easy solution would be to shoot in a studio or against any blank wall, as right now there is so much happening in the background that it becomes quite distracting. Another option would be to have the background play into the storyline of this character you’ve created. You could create a set that you then pose in. On the other hand, since you’re in illustrator, it might be cool to combine some of you illustrations in with this staged portrait. If you find a way to use a green screen or some other method to take out the background, you could then illustrate a background for the images.

    There are a lot of possibilities, I can’t wait to see where these ideas take you!

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