Since starting his residency, Timothy Westbrook has had Milwaukee talking. At 23, he’s the youngest of the Pfister’s artists in residence, the first artist from out of state (Timothy hails from Wanakena, New York), and the first fiber artist (all other artists were painters).
On Friday, January 18th, he had jaws dropping.
He presented his final fashion event to coincide with Milwaukee’s winter Gallery Night and it was spectacular, to say the least. Timothy showed 17 looks (Yes, that’s right, in only eight months he’s woven the fabric by hand and constructed 17 looks). The models were striking in both appearance and attitude. The bold makeup and hair styles were courtesy of students from the Academy of Waukesha, a Paul Mitchell partner school. All of the looks were for sale as well – wearable art pieces ranging from $500- $23,000.
A squabble of photographers, like geese, stood attentively with lenses up, ready to shoot the runway that split the Imperial ballroom in two camps of fans from every walk of life. Timothy’s clothing was constructed from re-purposed materials like vintage curtains, plastic grocery bags, upholstery swatches, bedsheets, green Pfister umbrellas, and his signature, cassette tape film.
Because he was feeling a little homesick and didn’t want his emotions to get the best of him, he cleverly recorded his opening remarks on one of his beloved cassette tapes. It was an incredibly telling moment, especially for those who have yet the pleasure to make his acquaintance. He’s quirky and incredibly kind. He’s professional with very clear vision and high standards, making it an honor to work alongside him at the Pfister.
I am no fashion critic, but I know what I like when it comes to aesthetics and Timothy, along with stylist Alexis Rose Criscimagna, achieved a beautiful balance of Avant-Garde and Victorian. Imagine a punk reconstruction of Susan B. Anthony. But rather than critique his work, I want to tell you about Timothy Westbrook the person.
Brimming with character, with a penchant for fantasy, Timothy reveals that all he ever wanted to do was tell fairy tales. And through his work, he is doing just that. He loves unicorns, gesticulates wildly when he gets excited and makes everybody feel welcome, all the time. Timothy even displays other artists’ work in his gallery.
Timothy will be in residence through March. Don’t miss out on meeting him before he becomes super famous. I for one, feel so happy that he’s woven his way into the fabric of the Milwaukee community. Timothy will reveal his legacy piece for the Pfister Hotel on March 29, at an event open to the public. Check back for more details and become a fan of Timothy’s Facebook page for more event coverage.
Photos courtesy of Zachery Seib Photography.