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Sharpie dress on Buddhagirl

The life of a sculptor, designer and shop owner is apparently a busy one.  See Hazel Colditz below, better known as @BuddhagirlAZ on Twitter, on her cell, taking orders, shaking up the sculpting world. One has to ask, where does she find the time to design Sharpie dresses like the one she’s wearing? No matter, it is done. And now it is mine.

Buddhagirl and I met on Twitter and became fast friends.  I admired her Sharpie dress et voila, it magically appeared in a box on my desk! It has since become a cause-celebre over here at Sharpie HQ as everyone stops by to check it out. Below is background on how it was born, followed by info on how a sculptor/designer uses Sharpie to get the job done:  

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Buddhagirl in her Sharpie dress

How and why did you come up with a Sharpie dress?

It came about through my daughter, Mariko Burton, wanting to create an eco-fashion line. The Sharpie dress was something that I came up with due to the @platea (Twitter) project called Co-Modify Project II (editor’s note:  participants pick a brand to fictionally “sponsor” them).  I chose Sharpie as my sponsor…I wanted to utilize Sharpies outside of their perceived uses.  

Did you sew on all the Sharpies yourself? I noticed you matched the thread to the Sharpie. Nice detail. 

Yes, we sew ALL the Sharpies (by color with embroidery threads) on!

What is the dress made out of? Can someone buy one of these? 

The dress was made as one our “green” wears. It is made of recycled, re-use/renew drop cloth. It is lined with recycled bed linens.  Of course these dresses are for sale!!  It can be commissioned for sizing or just from our salon, Kuzu, ready made. The dress is multi-functional…one can keep the Sharpies on or remove for washing or wearing with only a few choices, none or ALL!

Which Sharpie color do you use the most?

Every moment decides which Sharpie color…depends on mood/medium!  I use black mainly but all colors have a purpose, for those rainbow moods!

The dress is now in my possession. What types of functions do you recommend I wear it to? I’m not going to Prom this year, so that’s out. But others? 

Please wear to any functions that require some funkiness, cutting-edge fashion statement for Sharpie…that would include ALL TV spots and celebrity events because you ARE a celebrity!

How did you get started as an artist?

I have been an artist/metal sculptor for over 10 years. I have always felt a passion to create and a connection to “solid” Earth-like elements, such as metal, rock, wood and even water. I am also a recycling fanatic and these media are perfect from an impact standpoint. Finally, I was a competitive swimmer for 15 years and I suspect that somewhere in the recesses of my “self” that competitive nature still lives. I met with significant resistance when I began welding, grinding, sawing and creating large sculptures. This particular artistic arena was a man’s world and that made me even more determined to succeed.

On March 23rd, 2009 I opened Kuzu Salon. Kuzu means “rubbish” in Japanese. For me and my daughters who are partners in the boutique, it would be more appropriately translated as “re-used”. One premise of the boutique is to use recycled materials whenever possible. In addition to the actual boutique, the salon space and warehouse serve as my work-space and gallery. We like to say “Kuzu….not just a galley, not just a store, but an experience!” Sharpie is a major participant at Kuzu ranging from patterns and accessorizing clothing to graffiti and drawings.

Tell us a little about your genre. Are there lots of artists who do what you do? What makes your work stand out from the rest?

There are many sculptors but again, primarily men, as the size, weight and mass of the sculptures increases. My inspirations have been Isamu Noguchi (the master), Andy Goldsworthy (amazing nature installations), and Maya Lin (Viet Nam memorial) who is female. Much of my personal inspiration has evolved from my Buddhist spiritual beliefs although it is often subtlety represented in my work. I firmly believe the goal of my art is to evoke a response in the viewer. The nature of the response is different for each person and that is what I find so fascinating and compelling.

How would you describe your style?

I generally attempt to keep the sculpture visually simple in terms of the overview. On closer inspection, however, I love to put in some detail or create a symbol within for contemplation.

How did you come to use Sharpie markers in your work?

I have always used Sharpie markers in my everyday artwork. Their ability to permanently mark metal, wood and rock is essential to the construction process. The variety of colors and tip sizes are perfect given the variety of materials I work with. In reality, I use Sharpie markers throughout the entire process from design & construction to signing personal cards for each patron. 

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Buddhagirl's pretend Sharpie ad as part of Project Co-Modify II and her fictional sponsor.

My most recent “Sharpie Adventure” was the result of my participation in the Co-Modify II project by @platea. The project was designed to explore how art with web-based social networking (combined with consumer goods) influences our lives. I chose Sharpie because they are so universal in nature. Obviously Sharpie markers are an essential part of my work and life but what I find even more intriguing is Sharpie’s truly have no bounds in terms of age, social status, gender, or use. I found the creation of Sharpie ads that had a connection with my work and boutique to be very fun, creative and liberating! I have always been a Sharpie fan and my choice just seemed so natural.

What about Sharpie markers makes them your medium of choice? Is it the variety of tip sizes, colors, other? Please describe how you use Sharpie as an art tool.

I have always used Sharpie markers in my everyday artwork. Their ability to permanently mark metal, wood and rock is essential to the construction process. The variety of colors and tip sizes are perfect given the variety of materials I work with. In reality, I use Sharpie markers throughout the entire process from design & construction to signing personal cards for each patron.

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Some of Hazel's big, beautiful work

My current hallmark piece is “The Four Noble Truths”. It is a stainless steel and bronze piece (24″x 50″x 144″). Other than the visual and emotional impressions that my works evoke, I think people are drawn to the size, symmetry and creative nature of my work.

Can you describe the process you go through to create your work? How many hours does it take? Is it a free-hand approach or do you create a template in advance?

In simple terms, the process is straightforward:

Idea/concept
Design
Mechanical/structural considerations
Material selection
Fabrication
Finish

In terms of hours & labor, the process is incredibly long (months) and difficult which is also why the finished piece is so satisfying. All pieces are created from a “Sharpie sketch” by free-hand! I then create a maquet which is a small version of the piece to make sure the structure and proportions are appropriate. I often make templates for the various components of each piece.

What are your inspirations?

I mentioned my personal inspirations in Isamu Noguchi, Andy Goldsworthy and Maya Lin but clearly my most powerful inspiration is “Nature”. Nature truly creates the most perfect works of art with unsurpassed power, beauty and detail.  More than make a statement, I hope my art will capture the viewer’s imagination and generate a personal emotional response. I am a small artist (in stature) creating large, powerful & provocative pieces without limits. When I think about it, I am like a human Sharpie!

Favorite Sharpies?

Sharpie Stainless Steel Permanent Marker (My fav, I love stainless steel!) – Black; Sharpie Permanent Markers – Super, Fine & Ultra Fine, all colors.

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Buddhagirl likes to make her mark wherever she goes

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