Elizabeth Bowles is a Baltimore based artist who is a candidate for a BFA from Maryland Institute College of Art in 2020. Her garment designs are a mixture of her Korean heritage and Victorian era classics. Focusing on the intricacies of fine detail,through embroidery and beading, her creations come to life in the form of fabrics with a hint of fairy magic. Trying to emulate the magic for creative set spaces through set design Bowles makes sure to use every part of her art as props for her photographs. She hopes to continue her studies at Pratt Institute for a Masters in Art Therapy.
My mother gifted my favorite book to me when I was a child; It was filled with beautifully drawn pictures of delicate fairies and flowers. The feeling of being transported to a different fantasy world was new and exciting, yet I never saw myself within it. In fact, I didn’t see myself anywhere. Not in real life, not in television, and not even in my beloved fairy books.
My Korean mother and American father had two very distinct cultures that I was influenced by, however, I never felt represented in American culture. I spoke English at school, then went home and spoke Korean at dinnertime. I existed as neither cultural entity and felt embarrassed about my Korean heritage.
These lifelong struggles as someone with two cultures have inspired me to evolve into being more comfortable with my heritage and to share this feeling. With my images I aspire to create a space where women like me are able to embrace both sides of their culture. I am combining Hanbok, a form of Korean traditional dress with the beading and style of elegant American historical dresses from the 1900s. These styles will happily merge with a flair of the inspirational fairy magic that inspired my creative process so long ago.
Each and every one of the fabrics contain an unnatural quality to them through the use of iridescent tones to create an off putting image that distorts the true color of the dress through set building, multicolored lights , and flashes of the camera. Through the images I create I want to make real that these fairy creatures exist and cohabit the world that we exist in today.
My goal is to celebrate the beauty of korean women. To bring korean women into focus in the turn of the century that celebrates individuality and inclusivity. Their uniqueness and culture is what sets them apart as unique in the growing and evolving world. Through the design and combination of creation I elelate what it means to bring fantasy into the real world through culture and style.