WALLINGFORD – The Dome at the Oakdale Theatre was a vibrant scene of paintings, sculptures and fashion earlier this month as local artists displayed their creations at the RAW Artist Connect showcase.
“I do acrylics on canvas, I do mixed media as well so there’s a lot of texture in my paintings,” said Cierra Serrano, originally from Phoenix, Arizona. “I recently moved here from New York City so I’ve been all over the map.”
Her colorful pieces hung on a chain link fence which buffered her art from the other artists inside the dome. Serrano was among more than 50 artists that showed off their work to hundreds of guests at the event by RAW: natural born artists. The independent organization, based in California, looks to get local artists’ work out in the community.
Connecticut typically has two shows a year.
Paulina Nersesian, RAW artist experience director, said the events host a variety of artists, from painters to singers.
“It’s special because it’s the one opportunity you’ll probably ever get to see all of these different types of talents under one roof,” she said.
Nersesian said artists get involved with the showcase primarily through social media, or by applying to participate online. RAW often looks at hashtags from Instagram, Twitter and posts on Facebook to find a variety of artists.
For artists like Byron Troy from Bridgeport, the Oakdale event was the first time he was able to present his steel sculptures to the public.
“Each sculpture has a unique personal connection with me,” he said. “I’m a two-time felon, I used to be a stick-up kid.”
After a life of crime, Troy said he turned his gun into art and developed his art “Steeling Roses.”
“Now I do less guns, more roses,” he said.
Wednesday Atoms, a singer/songwriter also from Bridgeport, strutted down the runway in the middle of the Dome entertaining the crowd. The RAW artist belted out original songs while silver-clad back-up dancers flipped and grooved behind her.
In the front of the Dome an audience gathered to watch Carlee Carvalko of Derby paint a nighttime landscape on the body of a model head to toe.
“We’re doing the embodiment of the universe, going from a family looking at the sky going up into the universe,” Carvalko said of her work.
The body painter and makeup artist said she always had a passion for hair and makeup. After deciding beauty school wasn’t for her, Carvalko tried makeup school and fell in love with the profession.
“It just makes me real happy,” she said.
While Carvalko has showcased her art before, the RAW event was the first time she did a live body painting. The entire painting took around eight hours to complete.
Another makeup artist at the event was creating an entirely different feel with her horror-inspired creations.
“I do a lot of scary looks, very different ideas being brought to the table,” said Rachel King of Stratford. “This is my biggest show I’ve done.”
Her subjects ranged from demon and zombie variations, to a “black-metal drummer” complete with possessed red eyes.
“I’ve been here since two o’clock doing all their faces,” King said of the several different looks she presented. “I’m so happy to be here,”
More information can be found at http://www.rawartists.org/