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Chicago, IL
United States

Alluring Chicago

Chicago RAWards 2012 Winners

Perry

As many of you know, and can certainly tell from my previous posts...I am a super fan of RAW Chicago!  RAW is an independent artist organization with a mission to provide artists with vital tools and exposure to help them launch their career.  All forms of art are supported including music, fashion, film, visual art, hairstyles and makeup.  In November I got the opportunity to see all of my favorite artists under one roof!  The RAWards is a national competition that ultimately brings forth 9 winners from across the country, who are then honored at a ceremony in Hollywood in January. Of course, the Chicago RAWards took place at the always amazing, Double Door!  So who in the Chicago area made it the next step?  So glad you asked, because I have exclusive interviews with some of the lucky winners! 

Drum roll please....






















Musician: Obisoulstar 


Alluring Chicago: Would you mind telling me a little about that evening? 

Obisoulstar: "RAWartist is an amazing platform uniting and showcasing artist of all genre and for most artist that are not use to having people view their form of expression, it comfortably eases you into that experience by encouraging you to inviting  friends and family to support your showcase.  The evening of the RAWards was exceptional, full of energy with nerves flaring from all the  amazing artist and the guest came out in numbers. I usually don't get nervous,  but Lord knows this night... I was."

AC: What did it feel like to win such an amazing honor? 

OS: "It felt amazing and it was such an honor to win the title "2012 Chicago RAWartist 'Musician' Of The Year" because I worked so hard to get to this point in my career almost single handedly. From management, producing, booking local, national and international shows, marketing and branding, to first getting a nomination then perform and win...indescribable. What a way to close out the year, I'm so honored." 

AC: What was the hardest part?  Did you come across any challenges?  

OS:  "The hours it takes to create, travel or just build is not hard at all, that's all love. One of the hardest things about maintaining a career is finance and this is when there is a lot going out but not much coming in. But even in that, you still have to invest in your craft no matter how little the investment is."

AC: What's next?

OS: "Next for me is my 'End Of Days' show 12.21.12 at the Hard Rock Cafe Chicago, then back to the studio to finish a few projects. I believe the energy and spirit of my music will lead to bigger and greater projects, stages and ears."




Fashion: Kira Lee


Alluring Chicago: Would you mind telling me a little about that evening? 

Kira Lee: "Show nights are always filled with stressful excitement for me. The evening of the Chicago RAW Awards show was no exception to that rule. It started out a bit hectic for me. I had lost two models very last minute and was scrambling to find girls the day of the show. I spent most of the evening preparing my models or manning my voting booth. Every artist involved in the RAW final show is so talented. I was a bit shocked when I heard my name called as the winner!"

AC: What did it feel like to win such an amazing honor? 

KL: "Winning the RAW Chicago Fashion Designer of the Year means a lot to me. Receiving recognition on something I devote an incredible amount of my time and energy on feels fantastic. It reassures me that it is not a total waste to be locking myself up alone to design and make clothing the majority of my time. All in all, it feels SUPER!" 


AC: What has the journey been like leading up to this?

KL: "I have always had a desire to design. I think a lot of that has to do with growing up with a Great Aunt that used to hand make all of my dresses and a Grand Father that was an Interior Designer. I always stood out and felt special since no one else had the dresses I was wearing, which gave me an early connection to clothing and the effect it can have on one's self. Growing up in my grandparent's house for a good portion of my life and being surrounded by fabric, also played a role. My Grandpa had a way of mixing fabric prints and textures, that I do believe I inherited. My favorite toys to play with were paper dolls and barbie. Not to make them talk to each other or whatever it is most kids do with dolls, but just to continuously change their outfits and try different combinations together. When I was in High school I took sewing classes and I found sewing to be very stress relieving, (it may have morphed into a stressful activity now, but that I blame on perfectionism). I started to alter my clothing and experiment with creating garments. At first I didn't really realize Fashion Design was something that I could go into as a career. After high school I worked a slew of sub-par jobs. It wasn't until I worked at the second hand store, The Brown Elephant, where I met a bunch of creative and like-minded folks. Everyone there really encouraged me to do what I loved. I went to school at Columbia College for Fashion Design and just graduated in May of this year. The rest is history!"

AC: What was the hardest part?  Did you come across any challenges? 

KL: "For me, money is always a challenge when it comes to creating. Fabric is not cheap and I have moments where I feel like I am just being self indulgent to spend all my money and time creating. On that same note, it hurts your social life a bit. I pay my rent and bills and then buy the fabric and things I need to create what's in my head. That doesn't leave much spending money to go out and do 'normal' things. I sometimes think people that are not driven to create something outside of themselves, that is also personal and so time consuming don't always realize how isolating it can be." 

AC: What's next?

KL: "I am currently working on a Fall 2013 collection of garments, where I will be creating most of the prints and fabrications through various methods. The collection is based off concepts exploring witches and what it means to be on the fringe of society, while still holding extreme power and wonder to the people that ostracize you. I also opened a vintage store on Etsy.com, called "Dead Girls Vintage". The shop features garments and treasures I have scoured the lands for. In January, I begin teaching fashion design courses to teens at the Evanston Art Center, and also will be showing a new piece at the center's faculty exhibit. In December, I find out if I make it to the national level of RAW Artists. If that happens, there will be even more exciting things to ensue."

AC: Where do you hope your talents and creativity will lead you?

KL: "My dream is to be able to quit my day job and design as my career. At this point, it is just me in charge of everything, which makes it a bit impossible for it to be profitable in any way. I do all the researching, sketching, pattern drafting, draping, sewing, styling, jewelry making, and business aspects myself. This set up, makes it difficult to mass produce my designs. I hope to keep building my brand up and eventually be able to hand off at least the business side to someone else. I love creating and couldn't imagine doing anything else, so even if it is just me doing things myself for years to come I will find a way to make it work."

















Makeup Artists: Mandy Henner 

Alluring Chicago: Would you mind telling me a little about that evening?

Mandy Henner:  "It was such an awesome opportunity!  The amount of support that we received that night was really incredible!  I was really impressed with all three of my models and how they promoted my work, as well as how they did such a great job of showcasing and bringing my makeup applications to life!  I definitely could not have won without them!"

AC: What did it feel like to win such an amazing honor?

MH: "Winning was great, but the best part was really getting my work out there and bringing unique looks to the show!  I chose to go with a random mix of what I am passionate about rather than a tri-fecta theme and I feel that my models really pulled it off!  I love meeting new people and the RAW event was such a great way to do just that!"

AC: What has the journey been like leading up to this?

MH: "The journey leading up to this has been fun but anxious.  It is always challenging to put together looks not knowing your audience or what's in store.  I am truly passionate about what I do so I went with what inspired me.  Not knowing what to expect the night of the show was scary but when the show started it really exceeded all of my expectations!  Kara the coordinator of RAW does an excellent job of really pumping the artist's up and there was so much love and support going around!"



AC: What was the hardest part?  Did you come across any challenges?

MH: "Honestly, as far as challenges go, I would have to say the first RAW show was the biggest challenge.  We lost power in the entire building and we ended up doing most of the models with cell phone lights and made due with what we had.  I realized if we can get through half of the pre-show with no lights & running around scrambling in the heat, then we can probably get through almost anything!  I think believing in myself and truly having the confidence is also something that takes time and gets better after each time I work.  When they called my name as the 'winner' I looked around like, 'where is she... oh wait that's me, ahhhhh!'  It's an indescribable feeling really."

AC: What's next?

MH: "I love this city and I want to continue to do what I love all over Chicago, and maybe travel a bit.  I just want to continue to grow and to challenge myself!  I LOVE what I do so much and to be credited for it feels SO awesome!"



Photographer: Lauren Wilkins 

Alluring Chicago: Would you mind telling me a little about that evening?

Lauren Wilkins: "I was really nervous the day of the show. Thanks to RAW, I was able to showcase my photographic collages for the first time (Other shows I've been in showed my analog photography).  I had family and friends coming to each show to show their support and thank God they all did because I would not have made it without them.  As people were voting, I was only getting more nervous and my odds of winner were decreasing.  By the end of the night I was convinced there was no way I was going to win.  As Tom was about to announced the winner for photography I grabbed my boyfriend's hand and took a deep breathe.  Then my name was called...I couldn't believe it."

AC: What did it feel like to win such an amazing honor?

LW: "It feels great that my artwork is getting noticed.  My photographic collages are very different and people either love them or hate them.  Winning 'Chicago's Photographer of the Year' proves to myself that I am creating something great, and I should not stop working on this project until you see me again in art museums." 

AC: What's Next?

LW: "As of right now, it's hard to find time in my busy schedule to make artwork on the side.  I'm graduating from Columbia College in May earning my BA in Photography.  This semester I am taking 21 credit hours with a job and internship, so I barely have time to do my own homework.  After I earn my degree, I plan on continuing interning at a Chicago gallery, working on this project and networking myself to galleries to have my own solo show." 




Performers: Phoenix Rising 


Alluring Chicago: Would you mind telling me a little about that evening?

Phoenix Rising: "We have nothing but great things to say about RAW and Kara, the Chicago Director. We cannot stress enough what a unique experience RAW is. It presents an opportunity for us to showcase our craft among such a varied and inspiring group of artists. It challenges artists, as well as their audience to share and participate in a truly unique, multi-faceted artistic experience. We love the chance we've been given to grow artistically and show Chicago (and hopefully soon, other RAW cities!) what we do." 

AC: What did it feel like to win such an amazing honor?

PR: "It's pretty incredible to be RAW Chicago's 'Performers of the Year', ESPECIALLY considering we're only a little over a year old as a company. It feels great that professional judges and the live audience voted for us, not to mention our amazing supporters who voted for us online after our September show, which is what got us to the semi-finals in the first place!  We've been dancing together for a few years, but Phoenix Rising is still pretty new, so it's incredibly validating to win this achievement. Like a message from the universe telling us that we're on the right path. I know I speak for all of the company when I say how amazing and special it is to dance with each other and show Chicago work that we are proud of.  We also wanted to show people that smaller, local dance companies can put on full-scale productions and create a spectacle.  We have put thought into every minute facet of this performance, down to the color of our hair. The entire aesthetic of Danse Macabre (overall look, hair, makeup, costume...) took WAY longer than actually choreographing the piece itself!"

AC: What's Next?

PR: "We definitely want to grow Danse Macabre into a full ballet for next year, so we're starting to flesh out the story line for it.  We're also doing RAW's Holiday show this month (think Andrew's Sisters, USO, 50s pin-up), and at this very moment, playing the waiting game!"


For an entire list of all of the category winners, please visit RAW's website, www.rawartists.org/rawards !







Congratulations to all of the winners and a big thank you to Kara Coraci for all she has done to support RAW and these awesome, local artists!  It is with your amazing drive and dedication that these dreams become reality.