Arts Thread

Gabriella Weinkauf & her Luminosus collection

We interview ARTSTHREAD member Gabriella Weinkauf, a 2020 graduating Fashion MFA student from the Academy of Art University. We discuss the challenges of studying an online fashion postgraduate course and how Gabriella approached and overcame the challenges of online study, as well as her experience designing her fashion collection Luminosus.

See Gabriella Weinkauf ARTSTHREAD Portfolio.

ARTSTHREAD: Please tell us a little about how you came to study at Academy of Art University?

Gabriella Weinkauf: In 2015, I was in Kentfield, California while recovering from a major surgery. At that time, I thought about going back to school and do a master’s degree, which I knew I wanted it to be in Fashion. However, I didn’t know where or how to start my research. So, one afternoon, I took a drive around San Francisco, and I saw this cute sign that caught my eye with the Academy of Art University logo. I was curious about the university: I stopped and did some research online and went to one of the buildings to request info. I worried a lot in the beginning because I live near Detroit, and I had no idea how online classes would work. When I spoke with the advisor, he explained things to me, including the logistics and requirements. The rest was history.

ARTSTHREAD: What was the focus of your MA final project (thesis work)?

Gabriella Weinkauf: Luminosus is a personal collection for me. When I started researching for the collection, I asked myself, “What could bring me joy and comfort in the middle of this pandemic? Which aspects of my life have I never touched as a designer, and where do I want to go exactly as designer?”

With these questions on my mind, I connected some dots and came across my own personal relationship with the Catholicism. The countries I lived in growing up and my own education was strongly Catholic. I lived in cities where you can see many Catholic churches everywhere; beautiful, impressive, with highly elaborate interiors.

Some of the major inspirations came from cathedrals that I been connected to or visited (Sé de Braga, Sé de Lisboa, Sé de Oporto, Portugal, Catedral de Santa Cruz de Cadiz Catedral Primada de América or Basílica Menor de Santa Maria de la Encarnacion, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Catedral Basílica Metropolitana de San Juan Bautista, San Juan, Puerto Rico.)

All these cathedrals have many things in common: the altar, how they are so elaborate, the art, the details and the meaning behind all these pieces as a child scared me, inspired me, and impacted my soul deeply. The level of craftsmanship and details are extremely impressive.

In other hands, the work of Spanish painter Joaquin Sorolla y Batista always spoke to me about brightness and sunlight; you can see the same effect in the stained glass which illuminates the altar. Sorolla's technique was not only in the paints but also was applied in the early stage of picture development. His vast knowledge of illumination and color composition created a very unique style of Luminism that I wanted to apply in this collection.

The third element that I wanted to explore in this collection was the work of photographer Christy Lee Rogers, which gave me a huge inspiration and reminded me a lot of Sorolla’s work, the saints in the altar, and the novela Xica da Silva, which is based around the Baroque art period.

The way Christy worked the water with the light created a very unique effect; you can perceive the same movement of the angel when they are drawn or sculpted in the altar.

ARTSTHREAD: What were the challenges of working online? and how did you overcome them?

Gabriella Weinkauf: At the beginning I struggled a little bit because I had never studied online before. It takes discipline and requires you to be honest with yourself. You need to plan all the weeks, read all the instructions, note the deadlines, and the teacher’s office hours according to where he or she is located, including the time zone differences.

The key is managing your time correctly and being honest to yourself. Don’t assume that one project will take 2 hours: always double the time you expect to work on it, so you will have room for rest, rethinking if needed, and redoing things that did not work out on the first attempt.

Besides all this, you need to reach out for help - meaning contacting your teachers and instructors when you don't understand something. Communication is key to your success. Also, I would say creating friendships with the other students has been paramount in success online. The online work sometimes can be lonely, and it’s highly focused on yourself, but making friendships with other student can help you to feel less lonely: knowing someone that is going through the same projects as you, can help you see things differently, as well as open your mind to understand better the projects. With all of that comes more natural networking as well.

Finally, having a weekly plan is a must for scheduling the project work throughout the week, especially if you have a job that demands your attention. Also, make the time off limited, so you can rest and continue your progress during the week.

ARTSTHREAD: Which aspects of creating the collection did you enjoy most? and what did you learn?

Gabriella Weinkauf: The collection came out naturally to me. Personally, I think this collection is one the most personal to me and reflects a lot where I am in my life. While doing the research, I tried to make it mine in a way that reflected my feelings toward these places and structures that I spent a lot of my childhood inside. Being in a church and seeing those altars with all those details and wondered how it was done, I now realize today the craftsmanship on those altars is unpolluted and divine.

The aspect that I did enjoy the most in this collection was the research and the investigation of the social aspect and how the church used Baroque art as a tool to promote Catholicism. This was especially true in Spain and Portugal to show the people the wealth and how grandiose the church was, and how their god blessed them with gold, diamonds, silver and pearl from the colonies. The Protestant churches altars paled in comparison to the extravagance and overflow of wealth from the Catholic church. The fact that the Protestant church was more humble and much less elaborate was used as proof that the Catholic church was the right choice one in their eyes. The highly elaborate stained glass windows with images of the saints were used as part of the propaganda. Much of the stained glasswork was done with a high degree of craftmanship and dedication.

With this collection, I have undertaken an experience that will last me for the rest of my life. I learned to refine my sense as designer, trusted my instincts more, dive as deep as I can into my research in not only on what I liked already, but go deeper in the social and historical context of where we are living today. I found out I am really a textiles designer and able to work with software and apps in order to create the effects that I want to convey. This is something that I learned in this collection.

I learned also to manage my time better, be kind with myself and others, because in this industry you will be working with a lot of people and you don’t know who can guide you better in your quest.

ARTSTHREAD: What are your future plans?

Gabriella Weinkauf: Currently, with the pandemic, we need to be patient and see the different opportunities that will appear. I believe the whole fashion system will change in a better and more efficient way, I think this could benefit all the aspects that the industry touches, and I want to be ready for it. I want to start working on my own label; also working and collaborating with other local designers to create my own networking area in the Midwest. Also, I am open to the idea of apprenticeship or internships with any European fashion houses which I think can be very useful and open my mind up for design even more than I am currently.

ARTSTHREAD: Thank you Gabriella!

See Gabriella Weinkauf ARTSTHREAD Portfolio.

Learn more about MFA Fashion at Academy of Art University on ARTSTHREAD and also from the School of Fashion at Academy of Art University website.

 

ARTS THREAD Newsletter

Of
Interest

Gabriella Weinkauf & her Luminosus collection

We interview ARTSTHREAD member Gabriella Weinkauf, a 2020 graduating Fashion MFA student from the Academy of Art University. We discuss the challenges of studying an online fashion postgraduate course and how Gabriella approached and overcame the challenges of online study, as well as her experience designing her fashion collection Luminosus.

See Gabriella Weinkauf ARTSTHREAD Portfolio.

ARTSTHREAD: Please tell us a little about how you came to study at Academy of Art University?

Gabriella Weinkauf: In 2015, I was in Kentfield, California while recovering from a major surgery. At that time, I thought about going back to school and do a master’s degree, which I knew I wanted it to be in Fashion. However, I didn’t know where or how to start my research. So, one afternoon, I took a drive around San Francisco, and I saw this cute sign that caught my eye with the Academy of Art University logo. I was curious about the university: I stopped and did some research online and went to one of the buildings to request info. I worried a lot in the beginning because I live near Detroit, and I had no idea how online classes would work. When I spoke with the advisor, he explained things to me, including the logistics and requirements. The rest was history.

ARTSTHREAD: What was the focus of your MA final project (thesis work)?

Gabriella Weinkauf: Luminosus is a personal collection for me. When I started researching for the collection, I asked myself, “What could bring me joy and comfort in the middle of this pandemic? Which aspects of my life have I never touched as a designer, and where do I want to go exactly as designer?”

With these questions on my mind, I connected some dots and came across my own personal relationship with the Catholicism. The countries I lived in growing up and my own education was strongly Catholic. I lived in cities where you can see many Catholic churches everywhere; beautiful, impressive, with highly elaborate interiors.

Some of the major inspirations came from cathedrals that I been connected to or visited (Sé de Braga, Sé de Lisboa, Sé de Oporto, Portugal, Catedral de Santa Cruz de Cadiz Catedral Primada de América or Basílica Menor de Santa Maria de la Encarnacion, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Catedral Basílica Metropolitana de San Juan Bautista, San Juan, Puerto Rico.)

All these cathedrals have many things in common: the altar, how they are so elaborate, the art, the details and the meaning behind all these pieces as a child scared me, inspired me, and impacted my soul deeply. The level of craftsmanship and details are extremely impressive.

In other hands, the work of Spanish painter Joaquin Sorolla y Batista always spoke to me about brightness and sunlight; you can see the same effect in the stained glass which illuminates the altar. Sorolla's technique was not only in the paints but also was applied in the early stage of picture development. His vast knowledge of illumination and color composition created a very unique style of Luminism that I wanted to apply in this collection.

The third element that I wanted to explore in this collection was the work of photographer Christy Lee Rogers, which gave me a huge inspiration and reminded me a lot of Sorolla’s work, the saints in the altar, and the novela Xica da Silva, which is based around the Baroque art period.

The way Christy worked the water with the light created a very unique effect; you can perceive the same movement of the angel when they are drawn or sculpted in the altar.

ARTSTHREAD: What were the challenges of working online? and how did you overcome them?

Gabriella Weinkauf: At the beginning I struggled a little bit because I had never studied online before. It takes discipline and requires you to be honest with yourself. You need to plan all the weeks, read all the instructions, note the deadlines, and the teacher’s office hours according to where he or she is located, including the time zone differences.

The key is managing your time correctly and being honest to yourself. Don’t assume that one project will take 2 hours: always double the time you expect to work on it, so you will have room for rest, rethinking if needed, and redoing things that did not work out on the first attempt.

Besides all this, you need to reach out for help - meaning contacting your teachers and instructors when you don't understand something. Communication is key to your success. Also, I would say creating friendships with the other students has been paramount in success online. The online work sometimes can be lonely, and it’s highly focused on yourself, but making friendships with other student can help you to feel less lonely: knowing someone that is going through the same projects as you, can help you see things differently, as well as open your mind to understand better the projects. With all of that comes more natural networking as well.

Finally, having a weekly plan is a must for scheduling the project work throughout the week, especially if you have a job that demands your attention. Also, make the time off limited, so you can rest and continue your progress during the week.

ARTSTHREAD: Which aspects of creating the collection did you enjoy most? and what did you learn?

Gabriella Weinkauf: The collection came out naturally to me. Personally, I think this collection is one the most personal to me and reflects a lot where I am in my life. While doing the research, I tried to make it mine in a way that reflected my feelings toward these places and structures that I spent a lot of my childhood inside. Being in a church and seeing those altars with all those details and wondered how it was done, I now realize today the craftsmanship on those altars is unpolluted and divine.

The aspect that I did enjoy the most in this collection was the research and the investigation of the social aspect and how the church used Baroque art as a tool to promote Catholicism. This was especially true in Spain and Portugal to show the people the wealth and how grandiose the church was, and how their god blessed them with gold, diamonds, silver and pearl from the colonies. The Protestant churches altars paled in comparison to the extravagance and overflow of wealth from the Catholic church. The fact that the Protestant church was more humble and much less elaborate was used as proof that the Catholic church was the right choice one in their eyes. The highly elaborate stained glass windows with images of the saints were used as part of the propaganda. Much of the stained glasswork was done with a high degree of craftmanship and dedication.

With this collection, I have undertaken an experience that will last me for the rest of my life. I learned to refine my sense as designer, trusted my instincts more, dive as deep as I can into my research in not only on what I liked already, but go deeper in the social and historical context of where we are living today. I found out I am really a textiles designer and able to work with software and apps in order to create the effects that I want to convey. This is something that I learned in this collection.

I learned also to manage my time better, be kind with myself and others, because in this industry you will be working with a lot of people and you don’t know who can guide you better in your quest.

ARTSTHREAD: What are your future plans?

Gabriella Weinkauf: Currently, with the pandemic, we need to be patient and see the different opportunities that will appear. I believe the whole fashion system will change in a better and more efficient way, I think this could benefit all the aspects that the industry touches, and I want to be ready for it. I want to start working on my own label; also working and collaborating with other local designers to create my own networking area in the Midwest. Also, I am open to the idea of apprenticeship or internships with any European fashion houses which I think can be very useful and open my mind up for design even more than I am currently.

ARTSTHREAD: Thank you Gabriella!

See Gabriella Weinkauf ARTSTHREAD Portfolio.

Learn more about MFA Fashion at Academy of Art University on ARTSTHREAD and also from the School of Fashion at Academy of Art University website.

 

ARTS THREAD Newsletter

Of
Interest