the weekly once-over
Observations, Perceptions, Remembrances, and Premonitions – the Good, the Bad, and the Grotesque
The Week of August 12th - August 18th
Words according to Thomas, Co-Founder, Jack of all Trades, and Creative and Visual Director of Raven Vanguard
Today Happens to Be One of Those Opinionated Days
So, ready, set, duck!
We recently spent some fruitful time in Montreal, Quebec introducing the eccentricities of Raven Vanguard to the art and design communities of this oft-misunderstood Province. Montreal is always a wise choice for creatives when they are looking to hide away from the mainstream and half-assed imitators, and the flat-out absurdity of mankind in general (gender descriptor intended).
And, so it began, our darkly indulgent and bizarre foray into the unspoiled polychromatic work of others who were creating left of center in highly ambient domains, but at the pinnacle of passion and imagination. The Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal, the Thierry Mugler Courturissime exhibit at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, and the work of artist, Cynthia Dinan-Mitchell being prime proofs of this extraordinary, but dying concept.
From its very beginnings, Raven Vanguard has freely embraced being misunderstood; in some sense, the notion of being shadowy and incomprehensible suits us as creators. Perhaps, by intention, we have even sought to be misunderstood, much like the mysteriousness surrounding religion and the church.
The current incarnation of the Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal was designed and constructed in the Gothic Revival architectural style over a nearly forty-year period, being finished in the early 1860s. Standing inside this otherworldly and sacred place emphatically reveals one of life’s great mysteries regarding holy places and their conception, they are not at all conceived in the minds of mere mortals; conceptually, they can only be the product of divine inspiration, guidance, and providence.
Immersing myself in the midst of beautiful spaces always brings me great comfort and peace, as well as unburdened inspiration. A mind-expanding sense of spiritual wonderment overcame me while witnessing the Aura illumination experience inside the Basilica on Saturday evening, and again the following morning while attending Mass. Unfortunately, with it, came the stark realization that in today’s modern architectural landscape, budget restrictions notwithstanding, this Basilica could never be envisioned. Copied? Maybe. But conceived of as an original work of art? Never! Perhaps it has to do with the reality that what was once holy has been transformed into something not only mundane but utterly profane because we choose to dwell in an era where we are entirely consumed by a multitude of sins. More to the point, for the most part, today’s design community suffers from absolute disillusionment brought about by the utter loss of unfettered imagination and artistic creativity. Moving on.
How does one begin to describe the work of designer, Thierry Mugler? For me, in a word, it has always been Macbeth. Fittingly, the Mugler Courturissime starts with his costume design for Festival d’Avignon’s Macbeth in the early 1980s. Mugler’s costume designs for Macbeth were, if not colorful, boldly fetishistic, eroticized and darkly theatrical. In witnessing Mugler’s creations firsthand, I can make the argument that Mugler begets Alexander McQueen who, in turn, would later beget Gareth Pugh. And let’s not forget Mugler’s influence for Jeremy Scott.
And, as for the work of Cynthia Dinan-Mitchell, I will remain intentionally cryptic. But I will say this - if you wish to find out more, make an appointment to tour our Studio later this month.