Monday, December 17, 2012

Meet Andre Morissette, Designer of "The Dress" at Hui Holidays!

Morissette's work in-progress. Genius alert!
Just 1 more week remains to enjoy Hui No’eau Visual Arts Center’s annual HUI HOLIDAYS tradition. Enjoy free admission to our nearly 100-year old Kaluanui Estate, built in 1917 for Harry & Ethel Baldwin, original inhabitants and founders of the community arts center, boasting the remains of Maui’s oldest sugar mill, 70+ species of plants and trees (pick up your plant guide at the front desk to learn more!), The Kaluanui History Room, 6 professionally equipped core arts classrooms (buzzing with creativity, students and open studio users each day), the new “What Makes Maui MAUI” mural installation by the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program’s own Shira Walinsky, the “On the Wild SideStickwork sculpture by world-renowned artist  Patrick Dougherty, and – of course – Hui Holidays: our annual artisan’s boutique featuring the finest arts and handmade items set at accessible prices by Maui artists.

Back by popular demand, the Hui proudly welcomed designer/ choreographer Andre Morissette to create this year’s holiday “window” installations alongside Maui artist Nancy Skrimstad and a crew of Hui angels. Located in the former dining room space of the Kaluanui Estate, Morissette’s paper dress installation has wow’ed hundreds of Hui visitors, both old and new, inspiring a demand for further details about this fierce and fabulous innovator:

HUI: Tell us a little bit about your design background - were you formally trained?

MORISSETTE: I am formerly a dancer who started to do design work costuming dance shows, musicals and plays. I do not have formal training in design but my training in dance and choreography are a big part of my design work.
HUI: Why do you design? How long have you been doing this kind of work?

MORISSETTE: Because it is creative work and I just like to let my imagination run wild! In 2001, I was introduced to paper as a medium when I had the opportunity to work on a project in collaboration with Linda McGehee, visual arts teacher at Seabury Hall  involving her soft sculpture students and my dance students. The result was “Paper Trail” a dance piece loosely based on paper and its various uses through history. The project incorporated wearable forms made out of butcher paper created by the art students and showcased by the dancers in the fashion runway section of the dance. Most of the props in the dance were also made out of butcher paper. In 2007, I decided to reset the dance adding more wearable forms that I designed and constructed myself. That’s when I started to play with paper. When Caroline Killhour (the Hui’s executive director) asked me last year to create two installations for the Christmas House at the Hui, I decided to bring the concept of paper dress to the next level. 

HUI: Last year was your first dress installation for the Hui - Why did you design another for this year's Hui Holidays?

MORISSETTE: Last year’s installation was a big success. I was going to explore another medium this year but the use of butcher paper to create art work was very appealing to Caroline, so we decided to repeat the concept and push it further.

HUI: Where do you find your artistic inspiration?

MORISSETTE: The inspiration comes from the challenge. I set the challenge and then figure out how I can make this happen. This challenge was to create a dress that would be totally different from the previous one. Last year dress was stately. This year I wanted to do a dress that floats in space. Most of my creative process is problem solving. How am I going to suspend the dress? What do I have to do for the dress to hold it’s shape? How am I going to wrap the paper on the form and give it the shape I want. After a while the work speaks to you and you just go with it.

HUI: Tell us about some of the reactions you have been hearing/ seeing to your dress - any funny or surprising ones?

MORISSETTE: At first people are amazed by the impressive scale of the dress. It takes up a whole room. On opening night the dress was glowing from the inside which you cannot really see during the day. Then they are captivated by the details, the intricacy of the folds, the texture of the paper, the rope details on the bodice, the hat. One woman was so excited about the dress that she wanted to have her wedding dress made out of paper and ask me if I would design her dress.

HUI: What’s next for Andre Morissette!?

MORISSETTE: I am designing costumes for the musical “Hello Dolly” produced by Seabury Hall Performing Arts and I am resetting my dance “Paper Trail” which incorporated paper costumes to be performed at Seabury Hall Dance Showcase in April 2013.

Visit Hui Holidays and Morisette’s DRESS, described by Darrell Orwig, our 2011 Retrospective Artist and 40+ year veteran of the Maui fine arts circle, as “such a fun piece that gives a visual bonus to the whole exhibition!” at Hui No’eau located at 2841 Baldwin Avenue in Makawao 7 days a week, now through Dec 24 from 10 am – 4 pm. Admission is free.

Photo by Aubrey Hord

Photo by Aubrey Hord

Photo by Aubrey Hord

1 comment:

  1. This dress is absolutely inspiring! I hope to see more paper designs by Andre in the future.
    Hallie Armato