From Vancouver to Hollywood: Braden Scheck and the Marilyn Monroe Film Dress
Drafted By: Ha Na Amani,
We are very honored to interview Vancouver based artist Braden Scheck who will be showcasing his Marilyn Monroe film dress this summer at the Hollywood Museum. Braden is a true artist whose meticulous love and passion has brought him to the eyes of the Hollywood and film and art scene. With a humble heart and profound love of art we go “Behind the scenes” with Braden and his journey of the beautifully haunting yet nostalgic Marilyn film dress.
Interview With Mr. Braden Scheck
Marilyn Monroe has been an inspiration in the eyes of many pop artists including Andy Warhol, what inspired you to work with Monroe as a muse?
I love Andy Warhol’s work, especially his pieces of Marilyn Monroe. Of course the iconic photo of her ivory dress blowing up over the subway grate for her film, The Seven Year Itch, is well known by many. It sort of remains my understanding as an iconic Hollywood wardrobe piece, if not the most iconic. I think the frequent use of her imagery found in products and art over time that I have been exposed to sort of led me to think of how I could incorporate Marilyn and create something inspired by her that wasn’t like the art I have seen before.
How did you decide on the medium of actual “film reels” as a material?
It started when I was first considering moving my studies and art practice into the film, video and integrated media world when I began thinking of what projects I could create. That led me to realize that film doesn’t have to be used solely as a media that light shines through to project an image but can be used structurally as well. I thought it might be interesting to use film as a physical medium and create tangible pieces with it. The idea immediately came to me that I wanted recreate Marilyn Monroe’s ivory dress out of filmstrip. It didn’t even occur to me to use anything else because for my idea there wasn’t really any other option but filmstrip. I didn’t realize that I would get the chance to create this work so soon after having the idea. It had been about a year or so after having the thought that there was an opportunity for me to utilize old developed 16mm stock film footage. When I had the chance to use this filmstrip, I took it and gathered a bunch of reels because I knew this was my moment to follow through with my idea. I always thought it was something I would have to wait and work on later on in my life and career, but I’m happy that I was able to at this time.
What are some secrets about the dress that you as the artist only know?
There are not really any secrets about my dress that no one knows. It does have my fingerprints throughout it though which I think is kind of awesome that it will always have a unique part of me built into it. The tape I used is so heavy duty that it was picking up clear fingerprints of mine as I built the structure of the dress underneath the final layer of filmstrip. I did not sew any part of the dress; it is made from unconventional material, except for the zipper back and buckle halter strap. It also fits Marilyn Monroe’s size and has images of women throughout it, including 1950s styled advertisements. But again, these aren’t really secrets about the dress; they’re more so facts about it that maybe people don’t know yet. One big secret from the public however about the dress is what I have planned next for it. I’ve only told some people so far either privately or in person as I wait for final details to fall into place but I’m very excited to share!
Do you see yourself continuing to use the medium of film reel in future designs?
Absolutely! In the next coming year, I plan to make a line of film clothing. It will either consist of my own designs while incorporating some conventional items to make the garments more wearable and comfortable such as a bit of fabric here and there or it will continue with the recreation of iconic wardrobe pieces completely out of filmstrip. Or maybe I’ll do both, I haven’t fully decided yet!
Would you consider the dress to be a form of fashion design couture, fine art or pop art?
In a way, all three I suppose. It can be seen as fashion because of course it’s a wearable piece and is a recreation of a vintage garment design, but also fine art because of it’s structural nature and possibility to be shown as an installation. I also like the idea of it as pop art because of it’s reference to pop culture, media, beauty sizing and the iconic, beautiful, Marilyn Monroe.
Aside from Monroe who are three other artists that inspire you?
There are so many! I find inspiration in my peers, nature, unknown artists as well as famous ones. Little things like light, words, reflections or raindrops even fascinate me. Kat Von D (or Katherine Von Drachenberg) who is most commonly known for her tattoo artistry, makeup line or previous TV show, is actually such a talented, beautiful artist! For those who haven’t seen her pencil sketches, photography, heard her music etc, I strongly suggest you check her out. Alex Pardee’s art has remained one of my inspirations over the years because his work is so colorful, fun and bright but also at the same time, it’s dark and gory which I love. My friend Paula Marie Cornell is another artist who inspires me. We studied together and I’ve seen her grow so much as an artist as well as a person. I’ve also read some of her writings and poetry, which are beautifully written, and I own 5 of her ceramic “Joy Drops” which I consider some of my most prized possessions. Along with all her wonderful work, she’s always been supportive not only as a fellow artist but as a friend as well and I find that inspiring in itself! As artists, and humans, I think it’s one of the most important things we can do is to support, encourage and praise one another and find inspirations in those notions of kindness.
What artist would be your dream collaboration?
Honestly, anyone who inspires me! Again, there are so many so it’s hard to say. Any of my friends and fellow artists, Kat Von D, Andy Warhol (if he were still alive, of course), Jeff Koons, Marina Abramovi, Alex Pardee, Kesh, Thierry Mugler , just to name a few.
Would you consider yourself a designer or artist?
I consider myself a multimedia or multidisciplinary artist so I suppose that could also delve into the design world. I like any form of creation really so design fits into that! Other creative outlets I enjoy that many people might not know include poetry, photography and baking. I also have an interest in creating experimental music so I hope to explore that more soon.
In a perfect world where and how would you like you exhibit, showcase the dress?
I still haven’t had the opportunity yet to find someone who fits Marilyn Monroe’s measurements to model the dress as it is made to her sizing, so that would be perfect I think! I wanted to do photos of someone modeling it, potentially recreate the iconic image or have a performance done with the film dress. I’m also very appreciative for any sort of chance to showcase my Marilyn film dress whether it be a gallery, museum, store, display showcase and so on. My friend Anne who owns and runs my favorite shop in Vancouver allowed me the amazing opportunity to show my Marilyn film dress in her store window! Her vintage/oddities shop is in Gastown and called Salmagundi West at 321 West Cordova Street and it was displayed so people could see it from the window as well as stand behind it inside. I also placed a fan facing the dress to create a subtle breeze as a nod to the scene in The Seven Year Itch.
If Marilyn Monroe was alive what would you like to say to her?
I’d want to say thank you for your talents and becoming such an influential icon. I know not everyone likes Marilyn Monroe, but there are people who look up to her, are inspired by her and the fact that the world still references and talks about her says something. I think she would’ve be a fun woman to hang out and have a drink with, chat and joke as we listen to old jazz records.
If you could design an outfit for any artist, who would your dream client be?
Lady Gaga! I love her and it would be amazing to work alongside her and be able to create something for her to wear or even just work on one of her projects! It would actually be a dream come true to work in her artistic collective of creators, which she calls the “Haus of Gaga”. I’ve actually made a couple efforts to have her see my film dress, including recently mailing info and photos to her non-profit organization, The Born This Way Foundation. I always tell people you never know what can happen or what you’re capable of unless you try! For example, I wasn’t sure how artists go about copyrighting their work. But, after a little research and application, I’ve found out I’ll be receiving the copyright certificate for my Marilyn Monroe filmstrip dress.
We would like to thank Mr. Braden Scheck and congratulate him for sharing his passions with us. Braden is truly an artist whose heart goes in to every detail of his work. The Hollywood Exhibit will be opening on May 27th of this year. Showcasing a 100 years of Hollywood treasures. If anyone has the golden opportunity they should most certainty go and view the dress in the full lavish ambiance of the Hollywood Museum.
Braden’s work not only an individual moment of artistic honor but an honor for the whole of Canada . If you wish to see more of Braden’s work please go to www.bradenscheck.com
Images of Braden Scheck’s Marilyn Monroe Film Dress
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