presence 4.0 Style Mixer will bring together the artistic, stylish and dynamic including our featured creative. August 16, 2013 in Santa Fe, NM at El Paseo Bar & Grill. More here. This post is part of the CREATIVES series.
“My grandma calls my style, ‘a quiet kind of loud,’” says Andrea Preston with a bubbly laugh. Over our conversation it is evident Preston’s grandma is correct, it is the perfect description for both her work and her style. We talk in her North Phoenix studio a new setup she is fond of as it is a full room in her home where she is able to spread out and take on her many projects. Her work table is filled with beads in a rainbow of colors and they shimmer under the light of her work lamp.
A non-profit professional by day Preston’s passion is felt whether she’s talking about her efforts in eliminating homelessness or a new interest she is taking on in styling clothes found on her many thrifting adventures. It is apparent Andrea creates not just because she loves it but because she needs to. When asked about her personal style she begins to describe her art, illustrating just how interchangeable the two are – “(it’s) very colorful, geometric with attention to detail in almost an OCD-manner.”
A self-taught artist, Preston’s work includes intricately beaded earrings and hand painted graphic earrings both found in technicolor shades of the rainbow. “I think my pieces are very versatile and I make them knowing they can be dressed up or down…in all, my work is everything at once.”
This dynamic quality is one which relates as much to Andrea’s background as it does to her style. Navajo, Preston grew up on the reservation in the community of Tuba City until she was 8 years old at which point her family moved to the town of Flagstaff. It was here where she was impacted by different cultures including the world of graffiti, street art and hip hop. Influences evident in her work. But even in the midst of city life, Andrea “always carried home with me.” She was still raised Navajo.
Preston is adamant to note her work is made with precision, she wants her pieces to last and is continuously inspired by the way her customers style her pieces. Noting, “Native people have always been stylish people…we’ve used what was available to us.” This is key to Preston as she notes the difference between fashion and style. “Style is using what you have and sometimes it is fashionable but it’s all relative and they often transition into one another.”
Andrea’s demeanor whenever she is interacting with people whether at a gallery opening, a student workshop or with her customers is continuously positive. She is genuine and understands how her wearable art is a direct representation of herself and Preston accepts the challenge as she is pushed by a continuous need to create. “I initially began this work because I wanted pieces for myself,” of course as all great things evolve Preston’s success indicates her vision to make pieces has become greater than herself.
Andrea’s style hinges on balance. She is cognizant of the ratio of loud incorporating “classis prints” as in hounds tooth, stripes with bursts of color in her blouses and she is inspired every time she goes thrifting as she loves to style outfits using a balance of hip hop flavor and her modest tendencies. Noting, “It isn’t important to me to show a lot of skin. I don’t do that to get attention. To me my style is part of how I want to carry myself – it is being a part of a greater community and shows how I was raised and taught…I’m a Navajo woman all the time, I don’t leave it behind when I leave my house…it is with me. And yet at the same time, I realize and am excited by the fact I am never going to be just one thing.”
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