In this fashion based art project, Michael Ho satires the collapsing of the distinctions between the fashion and art world. Outsider art and fashion is making its way through the back door of the high end art world. Conversely, fine artists are making their way outside of institutions and the white cube, through collaborative projects with commercial brands. Sequence 1 plays with this reversed cultural phenomenon, intentionally asserting its own “confused” identity. The collaborative efforts between a professional model/actress, photographer, a hair and makeup artist, and Ho, simulates the polished aesthetic of a fashion label. The way in which a viewer “consumes” art becomes a more literal gesture through one’s patronage, while also functioning as a form of art collecting. The customer becomes a participant in this satirical simulation. The ambiguous and almost contradictory nature of the project exemplifies and investigates the current “trend” of the contemporary art world.
Micheal Ho chose Chikako Fukuyama as the model for Sequence 1 based on Fukuyama’s personal experience as a Japanese national who has lived in Hawaii for 7 years, as well as her multifaceted career background. Similar, but reversed, Ho grew up in Hawaii and now lives and works in Tokyo, Japan. Although Fukuyama is developing her career as a model and actress, her professional identity expands far beyond a singular label of either a “model” or “actress.” Microblading, social media influencing, and philanthropy also contribute to Fukuyama’s personal descriptors. Ho, himself, does not label his practice as purely painting, sculpture or installation based, therefore giving rise to the inception of Sequence 1, a project about the obscurity of identity, specifically the ambiguous line between fashion and fine art. Not only does the merchandise and presentation of Sequence 1 contribute to the effect of its concept, but the choice of collaborating with Fukuyama is another key detail to the central theme of obscurity. Sequence 1 is meant to make its audience question the projects purpose and Ho’s motive. In the current globalized state of pop culture and the democratization of information, the walls between industries are collapsing, making it increasingly more difficult for creatives to identify with cultural movements or “eras.” Sequence 1 highlights and simulates this liminality as the defining phenomenon of this art era, similar to the conflation of art and life that fluxus artists began to develop in the 60’s.
Chikako Fukuyama (model)
Nani Welch Keli`iho`omalu (photographer)
Yosuke Kobayashi (hair and makeup artist)