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Parsons students illustrate the fashionable public

Fashion illustration of Nina Ruggiero by Parsons student

Fashion illustration of Nina Ruggiero by Parsons student Chelsey Pettyjohn, 22. (Feb. 11, 2012) Credit: Nina Ruggiero


Just because you’re not a celebrity having your photo snapped in the front row doesn’t mean you can’t feel glamorous during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week.

The W Hotel Union Square has partnered with the Bachelor of Fine Arts Illustration Program at Parsons The New School for Design to offer free fashion illustrations by student artists.

Anyone can stop in from 1:30 to 6:30 p.m. through Thursday, Feb. 16, to have their portrait created. 

I had mine painted by Parsons senior Chelsey Pettyjohn, 22, of Oklahoma. It is Pettyjohn's second year sketching Fashion Week guests and curious passersby in the W Hotel's living room at the corner of 17th Street and Park Avenue South.

Each artist uses a different medium, and Pettyjohn chose a combination of Japanese ink and wash, a paint similar to watercolor.

"I'm not a pencil kind of girl," she said. "I like that [Japanese ink] is bold, and if you make a weird line, you just have to work around it. I don't like erasing things. It forces you to be more confident with your brush strokes."

Illustrations take about 10 minutes, and guests can kick back and order drinks while the artists work.

Pettyjohn isn't afraid to use her artistic license however she pleases.

"The funny thing about Fashion Week is everyone's wearing black," she said, "so a lot of times, when I'm painting people, I don't paint the correct color. I paint whatever color I see on them; it's kind of like an aura reading — it's two for one."

She captured my aura — tired, with a hint of stress — perfectly.


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