Fundraising exhibit to help Ari’s fashion design journey
Ariadne Ward is counting on her art to get her to university.
The 18-year-old has received a handful of financial awards that will cover her tuition at Georgia’s Savannah College of Art and Design, but not incidentals.
She is looking for public support when My Journey, the exhibit she has been working on for two years, opens at Rock Island Coffee next week.
“The purpose for this art show is to raise money for my university career because I need to be able to sustain myself while I'm out there,” the teenager said. “I am struggling with collecting the necessary finances to be able to do things like collect my visa and also to get my plane tickets.
“SCAD actually gave me a hefty scholarship that takes up the majority of the tuition but you have to have the full amount of fees to be able to sustain yourself for one full year in order to be able to collect your visa.”
Ariadne, who graduated from BHS this year, also received financial aid from her alma mater and EY, the professional services firm. Meanwhile, she is earning money through “a few jobs” while “trying to curate everything” for her art show.
“The plan is to go in September. I have been accepted to and I've committed to the September term. But if that's not reachable – and I believe it will be – but if it's not then I would probably go at a later term or I will find some sort of alternate solution. But the plan is to go.”
Her exhibit focuses on the “representation, the hypocrisy of and the romanticism of Black women in art” and is the springboard to her long-term plan of having her own line of bridal gowns.
“I really like performing arts; I like visual arts, design, I also like to do creative writing. But I ultimately decided on fashion, and bridal more specifically, because it seems to be the thing that I have the most affinity towards,” Ariadne said.
She also likes that, as “a more intimate section of the fashion industry” it allows her to “connect with clients on a personal level”.
Ariadne has always been interested in art but truly fell in love with it when she moved from Dalton E Tucker Primary School to BHS in 2015.
“The facilities that we had at BHS and the resources that we were able to use during our art classes really intrigued me and so I thought I'd explore what I loved in art. From there I became more involved in my art courses and became more aware that I wanted to go into a field that included art or art and design in some way.
“I specialise more in acrylic painting and digital art design, which is what I'll be showing at my show to fundraise for my journey through SCAD.”
Her plan is to exhibit between 10 and 20 pieces of her artwork. Some were created two years ago, as part of the IB programme at BHS.
“I don't want to hide that I have work that may be not as developed, or work that may be technically very different to what I'm producing now,” she said. “Because it's about the journey that I've gone through throughout high school and how that's going to carry me to university. So there will be work from 2020 that you will see; from very early on in 2021, that has a different sort of aesthetic when it comes to the brush strokes and then there'll be work that seems very clean-cut, mostly digital design when it comes to the later works.”
Although she has exhibited her work as part of group shows, this will be her first solo effort.
“I am really excited and I'm a bit nervous. I usually don't tend to get nervous about things when it comes to performing or having an exhibition or anything of this nature but because I'm doing it for the first time as an independent artist, it's a little bit daunting. But I'm very excited for it to happen.”
Her interest in fashion also started in primary school although the dream of becoming a designer “kind of fell off as I got older”.
“It's only come back in the last few years. I think that the joy of having a bridal frock can sometimes be undervalued. Having a dress or a suit or any sort of frock that you would wear on your wedding day is important to someone who's getting married and I want to be a part of a process; I want to use my fashion designs to be able to evolutionise that for people.”
Her work at Rock Island will be “mainly acrylic paint or digital design”.
“A lot of my acrylic is very textured. I have some acrylic that is done with texture paint, which means that you can see the brushstrokes very clearly, and then there's some that’s just plain acrylic paint. But the way that I do my work, aesthetically you can definitely see the way that the brushstrokes flow and how that creates depth and how that creates 3D shape or the illusion of 3D shape in my artwork.”
My Journey, an exhibition by Ariadne Ward, opens at 5.30pm at Rock Island Coffee on June 24