RAW: Natural Born Artists

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by Jen Andersen and Chloe Karaskiewicz, photos by Megan McCormick

Walking into the Majestic Theater Wednesday night was the perfect mid-week adventure. Greeted by sexy dim lighting and the powerful sounds of Sexy Ester, the theater was transformative—we were not on campus anymore. An exhibition of local artistic talent, the RAW Natural Born Artists show brought in talent in the visual arts, music, make-up and fashion.

The night began with a performance by Sexy Ester, a local post-modern power pop group whose female vocalist, Lyndsay Evans, rocked more than her peplum ensemble. Full of life and fire, this band is a name we wanted to watch and listen to over and over. The other musical guest was The Mighty Short Bus, a roots, rock, country, soul band based out of Madison. Their sound comes from strong guitar and vocals with funky violin. Their latest album, The Family Band Record, has just been released. Also, good old fashioned SO to the guitarist for rocking some awesome red, straight leg pants.

RAW was the ideal hot spot of promising visual artists including mediums from photography to jewelry to dance. The exceptional creativity of these artists is what truly stood out at this event: the exhibitions were nothing short of extraordinary. Vanexa Yang, the only makeup artist featured at RAW, was a truly one-of-a-kind woman whose work included appliqué sparkled eyebrows and extreme contouring. Another standout artist was Matt Perrin of Atryllic Photography. His unfiltered photography promises a unique direction for the future of modern photography.

As for the jewelry designers, unique handmade pieces made an appearance in the shape of vintage bicycles, earrings mimicking mechanical gears and winds, and ornate necklaces with precious stones. One of the most prominent artists in this area is Chloe Benjamin, a UW alumna who designs and creates earrings and necklaces featuring raw cut and polished stones and delicate metal work. The night closed with Brazilian fight dancing, a unique art form that ties cultural instrumentation and fast-paced, partner-circling, high-kicking dance.

Among these visual artists was the incredibly detailed work of Tyler Lambert. Lambert is an emerging fashion designer whose clothing line, Doll House Studio, features soft and feminine designs. RAW provided Lambert with the prime opportunity to showcase his most recent line, in which he showed asymmetrical designs, with varying fits in a wide array of pearled pastels. As the show continued, his work incorporated lace, floral patterns and transparent fabrics that gave the whole show a whimsical, Alice in Wonderland vibe. The most tantalizing of these designs was an entirely white lace jumpsuit including floor-length lace trains trailing each shoulder. The show closed with a stunning tulle gown that was reminiscent of both Cinderella’s ball gown and Yves Saint Laurent’s famous pink bow dress, and featured a detailed bust and large tulle bow on the lower back. Lambert’s show proved a success for an up-and-coming designer with unique and enticing pieces, leaving the crowd anticipating more to come from this innovative local designer.


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