Columbus fine artist S.E. Steele is a board member of many local arts organizations, including Alternative Fashion Mob. As you’ll read in her Things We Love picks, that came about sort of by accident at the request of a friend. But it also was probably inevitable in some regards, she said, because the organization is so accessible to those who approach the fashion world with some hesitancy. Find out why this Saturday when the mob holds an art sale and mixer from 5-9 p.m. at Camelot Cellars.
Columbus’ fashion scene
I kind of stumbled into fashion in Columbus. I had a friend ask me to model for Alt Fashion Week, and I was scared out of my mind — the scariest thing I've ever done, hands down. But she was a friend, so I did it, and then I'm going down the runway in my underwear and body paint. It built a huge appreciation for fashion designers, models and photographers. I've since gotten into a lot of trouble collecting Kelli Martin and her work. She did a sale, and I got everything from her that I could that would fit me. I've always bought from Esther Hall, too. I love her work; I love texture and things like that.
Traveling to see the macabre
I like the macabre, but I don’t think it’s morbid. Studying those things that are a little darker helps you appreciate the more beautiful things in life. I've traveled to concentration camps, the catacombs in Paris, and Auscwhitz, because I've studied monuments and the way they commemorate life, which I think is a beautiful aspect. In Paris, you can go deep into the belly of the city, and the bones are exposed. That type of travel helps me with my artwork and the themes I use.
My intense hosiery collection
I have boxes and boxes of them. When I started traveling, I'd just load up like crazy. I brought a whole suitcase from Poland. I was Southern, and you learn to love your lady stuff. When I was younger, my parents knew a lot of people from different countries. There were a lot of people from all over the world at our house, and this one woman had these amazing scroll-patterned tights, and now you see them everywhere, but then it was unusual. That’s my quirky thing; it’s weird.
I collect a lot of antique photography. I stopped because the collection was getting rather large, and I’m trying to live very minimal too. I archive them and study them. I've brought them to colleges and art boutiques to inform people of the history of photography. It's a way we capture life and moments we had that are fleeting, and it's a beautiful thing. I don't know how we'll look back on the photography we capture today though. It’s on a microchip or whatever or in the air now.
I had a house with a garden and everything — Martha Stewart on crack — while I was going to CCAD and working, and it was just not worth it. Now I live Downtown, and I live in a living space but it's also commercial too, so it's a studio space — one room — and it's fantastic. I love living in the space where I create. I can look at it when I’m trying to fall asleep. I like lack of color where I create. It feels like I have a clean space in my mind, so where I live it's all grey scale. I also like to look at everything and see everything I own and know where everything is, and if I want to travel I can just do so. Or if I want to move someplace else, to a different location, I can. I’ve moved to several different studios easily, and I like making sure everything's organized and on wheels.