Hairdresser on Fire Artist Series highlights local talent

By Colin Rajala - Staff Writer
Windsor - posted Thu., Mar. 28, 2013
Artist Sue Tait Porcaro (left) talks about her artwork with event guests at the Hairdresser on Fire Artist Series on March 23. Photos by Colin Rajala.
Artist Sue Tait Porcaro (left) talks about her artwork with event guests at the Hairdresser on Fire Artist Series on March 23. Photos by Colin Rajala.

At the young age of 5, Sue Tait Porcaro did not want to be a veterinarian, a teacher or an actress like the rest of the girls in her class; she wanted to be an artist. Porcaro’s childhood dreams would come true as she became an artist amongst other things including a wife, mother and even a teacher and art director. After many bumps and detours along her artistic career, Porcaro is back doing what she loves about art most, illustrating. On March 23, she showcased her illustrations as part of the Hairdresser on Fire Artist series, alongside some of Windsor High School’s budding artists.

“I can identify with Sue’s work and her passion for the industry in the way that it’s always changing and evolving, never static,” said William Gleason, co-owner of Hairdresser on Fire and master stylist and makeup artist. “Her story is one that will speak to Windsor High’s art students as they step out into their perspective careers. If you want something, you have to go for it, and her passion definitely comes through in her pieces.”

The Windsor resident was selected to be the featured artist in the third installment of the artist series which opens up the vibrant space four times a year to local artists, transforming the salon into a gallery because of her vivacious and couture runway art. The artist series aims to bring the community together through highlighting homegrown artists, all while supporting the Windsor High School Art Department Scholarship Fund which awards scholarships to graduating seniors and financial assistance to underclassmen to attend pre-college and summer art programs.

I always get nervous before a show but it was great fun,” Porcaro said. “All of the students drew self-portraits with the focus really being on their faces, so you had my art which was very stylized with theirs, which was very realistic, so there was nice juxtaposition.”

Sue’s passion for illustration began in her teenage years. While girls were heading to the malls to shop she took a different approach, as she scoured through fashion magazines filing notebooks with sketches and drawings focusing on folds of the fabric and its contour over the body, highlighting the shadows to make the details on the page appear lifelike.

“Fashion was my first love, it was just a natural intuitive thing,” Porcaro said. “My work combines my love of fashion with my love of artwork. In a nutshell, I’m basically drawing something fun and fashionable whether it be something era specific from the past or something modern. I don’t take it seriously in the sense that it’s the Sistine ceiling. These are fun pieces that I would love to hang on my wall to express myself.”

The countless hours spent sketching fashion in her notebooks only increased her passion for art which truly flourished in high school. During Porcaro’s free time she could be found in the art room surrounded by pencil shavings with her hands covered in charcoal as her art teacher helped refine her skill, introducing her to professional mediums while showing her cutting-edge techniques and methods.

“Arts are such an important part of society; being creative comes from the soul and you have to let that be expressed,” Porcaro said. “I like to encourage kids to keep going. ‘All right so this drawing wasn’t perfect, so do it again, practice, keep drawing.’ I have done pieces that I’ve gone halfway through and trashed and started all over, you just need to do what you need to do and continue to push yourself and keep trying.”

After studying fashion, illustration and fine arts in college, Porcaro ended up in a variety of art and illustration positions outside of fashion, noting that something always felt missing. She had all but given up on her dream of fashion illustration until a friend contacted her about an open fashion illustration position at Ralph Lauren.

She may not have ended up with the job, but it sparked her creative juices and promoted her to dig up her fashion roots as she created more than 100 sketches for her company 2Lips Art and Design.

“If I did not practice what I preached then I would not have ever gotten back into fashion illustration,” Porcaro said. The work displayed at the Hairdresser on Fire Artist Series was all part of her newest adventure with 2Lips Art and Design which is created out of her basement art studio.
To date, Hairdresser on Fire has raised more than $2,000 for the Windsor High School Art Department Scholarship Fund.

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