The First Night of Fashion Week San Diego®

Posted on: September 19th, 2018

This year’s FWSD Art & Beauty Behind Fashion Night is going to be sensational!

This year Fashion Week San Diego® is honored and delighted to have partnered with The Art Renewal Center. On the signature kick-off event, The Art and Beauty Behind Fashion night seven world renowned artist works from The Art Renewal Center will be on display.  These seven art pieces are from artists from all around the world, including China, Spain, Dominican Republic, Australia, and various locations around the US. These art pieces will also be the source and main inspiration for designer couture looks created based on the art work that is the main entertainment for October 12th. Teams of hair and makeup artists sponsored by Detour Salon have also been commissioned to help make the inspired looks come to life on the models this night. This is a huge deal because out of 100’s of paintings in the ARC (Art Renewal Center) salon series this year, these 7 were hand-picked for this specific event with Fashion Week San Diego®. The Art Renewal Center opens up its Salon series 2 weeks before in NYC then after FWSD goes to Sotheby’s Los Angeles. We are so honored to bring these artists with the help of the ARC to San Diego and to FWSD18. This years venue, The Lux Art Institute couldn’t be a better location for the theme of this year and for this particular runway night. Don’t forget to download our free Fashion Week San Diego ® app to vote for your favorite team this night, winning team announced Sunday at the Annual Trunk Show and Fashion Awards Show.

Let’s meet these featured artists and teams: 

Team 1: Bridge by Julie Bell featuring Leili MeshkiJoanna Camargo, & Michelle Carsner.

  • About the Artist: Currently living in Pennsylvania, Julie Bell was born in Beaumont, Texas. A former nationally ranked competitive bodybuilder, she applies the same discipline and intensity to her art career. Her knowledge of anatomy has allowed her to imbue her figures of humans and animals with grace and strength. At the heart of her work is a deep curiosity, honor, and respect for the world of emotions. “When I’m painting animals with all their beauty and wild nature, I experience the kind of at-one-with-the-universe feeling described by people who meditate.  It’s both soothing and exciting, the way nature itself is.  I know without a doubt that this is what I was meant to do.”

  • Artist Inspiration: “I find that the purity of nature serves as a bridge for me to an invisible world that encompasses our entire universe and beyond. Using the written language of words to communicate this feeling just doesn’t seem to do the job with sufficient clarity. My best attempt to share this feeling with others is through the visual language of my art. In this instance, I portray a red-tailed hawk as the spirit of nature. By allowing myself to be completely dissolved into the hawk’s being, I feel a kind of access to a limitless place that exists right here where we live but that is typically obscured by our own human thinking processes. The hawk, or any part of the world of nature—sky, wind, rocks, blood cells, water, everything—carries me away to infinity.” – JULIE BELL


  • Designer Inspiration: Designer Leili Meshki’s look will bring to life where the human model ends and the bird begins. You can expect to see lots of feathers and bold primary colors!


  • Hair & Makeup Inspiration: Feathers will be applied to the face and carried into the hair for a very “birdesque” look.

Team 2: Harmony In The Ebb And Flow by Vanessa Lemen featuring Sierra MitchellGina Furiosi, & Stirling Gill.

  • About the Artist: Vanessa Lemen is a painter and educator based in Carlsbad, CA, and her work has shown in galleries and exhibitions nationwide. She has an extensive background in both online and in-studio instruction teaching drawing, painting, illustration and design in traditional and digital media. She and her husband, Ron, together run an online program instructing art and mentoring artists, as well as instructing at workshops in various locations in Southern CA and across the country, including The Fantastic Workshop with 1FW, and yearly week-long intensive creative excursions with Legendeer.

  • Artist Inspiration: “Harmony speaks of the strength we find within ourselves. Most often times, it is elevated by way of embracing the unity with others. Amidst the continuous fluctuation of life in all of its beauty and all of its chaos, there is a peace and calm that arises from this understanding as strength and then the sharing of that strength becomes essential. The wider the embrace, the greater the harmony and the stronger we all are for having shared and lifted each other up.” – VANESSA LEMEN


  • Designer look Inspiration: Designer Sierra Mitchell’s look will feature gold material with blue spray painted fabric and graffiti lace. Complete with feathers, this look will be dripping with sex appeal!


  • Hair & Makeup Inspiration: Juxtaposing the fire and ice elements, contrasting elements and textures of matte and metallic will compose the makeup for this look. “The higher the hair, the closer to god” is the inspiration for this look’s hair. This “nest” will be complete with feathers inspired by channeling the phoenix rising.

Team 3: The Queen is Dead by Alessandro Tomassetti featuring VaughnBerryManuel Delgado, & Kaycee Ondevilla.

  • About the Artist: Alessandro Tomassetti is a Canadian figurative painter based in Barcelona. He is known for his intimate portraits of contemporary men. Dramatic lighting and a moody color palette compliment his naturalistic rendering technique to capture the vulnerability and sensuality of his male subjects, the likes of which is most often associated with the female form. Intended to invert the male gaze, Tomassetti’s oil paintings seduce the viewer into appreciating the male form while confronting cultural tenets of masculinity.

  • Artist Inspiration: “The model for The Queen is Dead is a young Dutch ceramics artist who I met through Instagram. He came to Barcelona for a session of reference photos and midway through, I began to feel that I wasn’t getting what I wanted from the set up. He had delicate features and an undeniable radiance, which I liked, but it read as juvenile and too pretty without something serving as contrast. So, I threw a sheepskin rug over his shoulders and told him to imagine himself as the ambitious ‘next in line to the throne.’ Suddenly this regal, steely expression appeared on his face and I knew I’d have something to work with. I brought focus to his determined gaze by sharpening the rendering of the face and hair while leaving the hands and fur more loosely painted.” – ALESSANDRO TOMASSETTI


  • Designer look Inspiration: Designer VaughnBerry will bring to life the concept of what would happen if the queen dies? “You would collapse to your knees, and the spotlight would be on you now. Even in darkness and mourning, you must show strength and be alive.” This piece will evoke Drama – Faux fur cloak complete with a raven and crown collar.


  • Hair & Makeup Inspiration: Angelic is the key word you can expect for this hair and makeup look. Life around you is chaotic and tragic, but your hair and makeup is angelic and beautiful – a perfect juxtaposition.

Team 4: Me Too by Janne Kearney featuring I am Sublime, Katrina Dunlap, Ashley Marer, & Nicole Aguiar.

  • About the Artist: Janne Kearney born Geelong, Australia 1962. Predominantly a figurative and portrait artist, her paintings ask  the viewer to disregard pre-conceived perceptions of people, society and at times  reality. Each painting invites you to contemplate, reflect, and reminisce; they are profound, evocative and at times humorous. The  works are full of light and color created in a contemporary realist  manner, and could be described as iconoclastic… they challenge or overturn  traditional beliefs, customs, and values, consciously utilizing both traditional and innovative techniques, her work explores retro and neo kustome culture.

  • Artist Inspiration: “In some ways the lost teen in my work reflects the struggles of my early years. My painting asks the viewer to disregard preconceived judgements and invites us to contemplate life within the margins. It prompts us to examine social issues and address unjust discriminatory practices while drawing attention to the #MeToo movement that has been outing sexual abuse, assault and exploitation of the vulnerable. Choosing to give a voice to the meek and bring an awareness and cultural change to the powerless, the painting puts a face to the #MeToo movement, prompting an immediate and for some, an identifiable emotional response.  There is strength in sharing the declaration ‘me too.’ You are not alone; you will not be shamed. Primarily it’s about empowering young girls to speak up, step out of the darkness and cast off the shadows—to be strong, bright and bold!” – JANNE KEARNEY


  • Designer look Inspiration: Designer I Am Sublime brings to life the #MeToo movement with her braided robes of struggle and oppression look. She hopes it will inspire women to have courage, strength and to say “never again.” We are all goddesses, and this look will show that it is not just fashion adoring the body, but statements too. Statements of empowerment.


  • Hair & Makeup Inspiration: Hashtags and powerful statements of empowerment will inspire the makeup and hair looks for this piece.

Team 5: Old Lady of Ge Ethnic Minority by Jun Liu featuring HMO by Harumi Momota, Aaron Dickson, & Sophia Ciuffa.

  • About the Artist: Enjoy this short video of the Artist Jun Liu, and how his masterpieces come to life!
  • Artist Inspiration: “This is a portrait of one of the women of an elderly minority group of people whom I met during folk song performances in Qiandongnan Prefecture of Guizhou Province in China. I painted this piece on the model of the elderly. This is a simple image of a mother, with years of wind and frost on her face and hand-carved deep marks in her skin. Her tenacious and resolute eyes lead people to feel strongly that she must have gone through many tribulations and hard times in her life. Although, in her face you cannot see the suffering, and some may think she exudes humanized glory. The deep and insightful gaze of the elderly was my motivation behind this portrait, and her eyes hidden in the dim shadow are the focus of the painting. In order to highlight this strong feeling, I gave up the composition of a hand, more clothing and other aspects that could have been in order to simplify the piece and make the presentation purer. I wanted to show my admiration for the mother as the queen of my heart and to show her solemn noble and sacred beauty!” – JUN LIU


  • Designer look Inspiration: Designer HMO brings this look to life with a stunning 100% Alpaca metallic fiber jumper that was handmade in Peru. This outfit will be complete with metal accessories and gold jewelry.
  • Hair & Makeup Inspiration: Hair and makeup for this look will be deeply inspired by the province of Chine and the history of the painting. You can expect to see Metallic makeup and hair modifications to look like the adornments of Chinese culture.

Team 6: Entomology by John Darley featuring Baza Hautecouture, Janette Cruz, & Sonia Tabor.

  • About the Artist: John Darley is a young and talented Artist from Utah. He studied at Hein Academy of Art, Hudson River Plein Air Fellowship, and Grand Central Atelier. He has won multiple awards for his fine art paintings, and has been featured in various exhibits around the country.

  • Artist Inspiration: “I initially set out to paint exotic insects after observing how strange, but also beautiful they are. As I considered the composition of the piece and began painting it, it became more interesting—not only because of the contrast of strange and beautiful, but also the contrasts of two-dimensional and three-dimensional, past and present, living and dead, symbolic and real. I find that subjects and artwork that entail contrast and opposing principles are the most interesting from both an aesthetic and interpretive standpoint. To create this painting, I acquired insects from Tanzania, Congo and various other parts of the world, as well as a page from an old 1800s entomology book. The painting was created while I was living and studying in New York City and painted mostly in the late evenings.” – JOHN DARLEY


  • Designer look Inspiration: Designer BAZA is prepared to make “Entomology” glamorous and stunning with color, texture and structure. She will recreate big scale shells and bugs in her gown.


  • Hair & Makeup Inspiration: Hair for this look will be braided with electrical wire and parts will even be painted! Makeup will complete this look with gem colors like the shell of bugs. The entire face will be restructured to look unhuman.

Team 7: Mind Over Music by Patricia Alonzo Diaz featuring Irina Madan, Kate Bustamante, & Vanessa Castro.

  • About the Artist: Since Patricia was a little, she felt very passionate about art. She was interested in design, drawing and painting. When she was at school, she was an excellent student, but especially in art classes. When she graduated high school, she didn’t have the opportunity to attend University. She then started working on many different artistic activities in her hometown. This included competitions that showcase her talent, such as designing costumes, where she was recognized with trophies. Then her dreams came true when she was accepted to study at Ani Art Academies Dominicana. Art is her true passion and she hopes to continue to develop her art skills.


  • Artist Inspiration: “I created this drawing for a themed exhibit, Synesthesia, that was held at Rehs Contemporary Galleries. Synesthesia is an unusual phenomenon that takes place between the areas of the brain that cause an alteration of the senses. Can colors have a sound or shape? For those with synesthesia, the answer is yes, they can actually hear colors or see music. I had never heard of synesthesia before, so it was both an interesting and challenging concept for me. I feel that I represented this phenomenon in my charcoal and color pastel drawing by suggesting that the girl was ‘tasting’ the music with the broken CD, and as result, ‘hearing the color’ with the purple wavelengths coming out of her ears.” – PATRICIA ALONZO DIAZ


  • Designer look Inspiration: Inspired by the musical aspects of this painting, Designer Irina Madan’s look will be hand-painted with CD’s. Colors will consist of orange fuchsia, and purple and the dress will be decorated with hand embroideries and nature laces. The boarder of the dress is inspired by the cracked CD.


  • Hair & Makeup Inspiration: Hair and makeup will be inspired by the emotion and motion of music. We all know how a good song can make you or break you. Cassette tapes and Helium balloons in foil leafing will hold the hair, and then later in the evening the balloons will be released on stage! Makeup will consist of a music bar across the face.



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