RAW Natural Born Artists Showcase inspires and supports Detroit artists

Tuesday, February 19, 2019 - 5:29pm

RAW Natural Born Artists

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The RAW Natural Born Artists show took place in downtown Detroit at St. Andrew’s Hall on Feb.13. The show, which had the goal of empowering local artists and providing them with a platform, certainly did not fail to impress. All forms of art — fashion, textiles, cosmetics, live music and photography — came together in the eclectic space that is St. Andrews Hall to represent the diversity of creativity that lies within the growing community of artists in Detroit. An event completely by and for artists, RAW holds shows all around the country, inviting artists to showcase and sell their work at mandated venues.

Contributing to the sense of independence that is re-emerging in downtown Detroit, the RAW Showcase was just a taste of the talent and development that is occuring in our very own backyard. Serving as a reminder as to why we cannot forget about our dear Detroit, the show blended all aspects of any and every part of design, completely catering to independent artists personal work and business, carving a space for a conversation about the world of artistic mediums and experimentation.

Said first year attendee and artist Katherine Cross, “It (this show) has exceeded my expectations, I’m super impressed by the group of people they brought together- music, hair, all types of artistry, and I think that is so cool.”

The vibrant show truly represented all aspects of the art spectrum, all tied together through mini concerts played by various artists throughout the entire event. The show catered to a lifelong dedication and love for art and design, as shown by many of the artists present, Cross included. A self-branded surface designer, Cross spoke on her own practice as an artist and how she arrived at the show.

“It was total serendipity. One day I started cutting things out of magazines. Then, I started organizing them by color and making them into collages. I was originally trained as a portrait artist, I have a degree in human figure drawing. But here I’ve found myself cutting out abstract shapes and things out of magazine pages,” Cross said.

Cross’s process speaks to the entire show and its total encouragement for experimentation across all mediums of art and design, one growing in the world of design as well. In a physical world covered in surfaces, from paper to textiles, to everything in between, Cross left no stone unturned when beginning her business founded on color, collage and texture. Said Cross, “It started with cards, I was living abroad when I started this company, and I went around to all the little shops in my town asking ‘would you be interested in using these for your floral arrangements?’ And they said yes! My first order was a florist shop, so I designed small gift cards and different things for that.”

The versatility of Cross’s work aligns itself with a conversation occuring all across the world of art and design about the use of textiles, color and pattern in fashion and beyond. Cross does not limit herself to checking one box in design, as a surface designer she completely plays off the ever changing characteristics of design, curating her work to fit just about any surface. A pioneer in self-branding and material use, Cross is changing the definition of what it means to be both an artist and designer, a concept the RAW show catered to. Cross’s inspiration started in fashion and has completely extended to other mediums including paper products and jewelry.

“My favorite designer is Dries Van Noten the way he mixes pattern and color and things like that so I love vintage materials, I love textiles that have texture, unique patterns, everything I’ve always been a lover of fabric. I love it, I gotta buy it. I do love fashion, when I was a kid I had a cousin who got Vogue and I would always just look through the pages and think it was just the most amazing beautiful artwork,” Cross said.

Cross and all the artists at the RAW Show are completely revolutionizing what it means to be immersed in an art form, taking initiative and inserting themselves into a conversation and effort to blend and support all styles of art and design, a beautiful balance one really could only find in downtown Detroit.