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Wearable art show bringing wacky designs to Dunedin

DUNEDIN — When Tarpon Springs resident Julian Hartzog saw his first Wearable Art Show at the Dunedin Fine Art Center six years ago, the 77-year-old wanted to join the ranks of the creative designers who have used materials including raw meat, veggies, balloons, lamp shades and condoms to adorn the human body.

But the electrical engineer-turned-portrait artist couldn't figure out how to wrap a painting around a model.

So he turned to shiny metallic Christmas trim for inspiration. Last year, he made his designing debut forming giant ribbons and bows, made from sheets of aluminum, around his models. The look was such a smash, those outfits are being featured in New Zealand's World of Wearable Art this fall.

Now Hartzog is back again, one of nine professional artists selected to present edgy and outrageous attire for the art center's end-of-summer sizzler, Wearable Art X. Two student artists will also join the crew.

"Wearable Art X celebrates 10 years of our highly successful sold-out shows," said Ken Hannon, associate executive director.

Hartzog isn't talking but did say his models are bringing intergalactic elegance to the show, along with some disco fever.

"I'm working in stainless steel this time; it's laser cut and hand formed," he said. "It's very shiny, almost like a mirror, and I'm just hoping nothing malfunctions."

This year's show also features a digital photography exhibition, I Am Indonesian, by Veronica and John Stewart.

The designers will be doing their best to meld the art and fashion worlds in ways that entertain, astound and fuel the imagination.

The pre-party with a DJ starts at 7 p.m. and features "pop-art" by balloon artist Mark Byrne of Trinity. Guests can pay to pop balloons on a model, benefiting the Dunedin Fine Art Center. Later, enjoy Byrne's runway presentation of Maidens and Monsters, featuring a 15- to 20-foot balloon gorilla named King Kong.

Rogerio Martins, always a crowd pleaser, is making costumes for television soap operas and other shows in Brazil. He plans to show pure haute couture inspired from the glamour of 1950s Hollywood.

Dunedin's Lina Teixeira calls her collection "Natura." She uses and reuses items from nature, including twigs, branches, leaves, feathers and animal cadaver heads to create her flora and fauna looks.

The Garden Fairies, a troupe of community-minded artists and gardeners, plan to show a collection of garments made of felted flowers. "The outfits will be a combination of magic moment fairies and Las Vegas showgirls," said Siobhan Nehin, queen of the Fairies.

Reach Terri Bryce Reeves at treeves@tampabay.rr.com.

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