Marco Morante (Theater bfa 02), Costume and Fashion Designer
(Music bfa 05), Musician, Filmmaker, DIY Proponent A jazz saxophone major at CalArts, Devin McNulty teamed up with friends Eric Kim (software company head), Dawn Kasper (artist), Giles Miller (musician) and Kathleen Kim (immigration law professor) to launch the volunteer-run art space Human Resources Los Angeles in 2010. Tilting toward live performance, conceptual art and “underexposed” forms of expression instead of conventional gallery exhibitions, Human Resources is set up to be “flexible enough to accommodate any number of meaningful conversations among the micro-niches of the creative community,” McNulty says. “Not just to say that we do it, but to actually deliver maximum community access to new work by talented, relevant and motivated artists from all over.” The venue’s programming has no set parameters other than the consensus of the five founders. It runs the gamut from longer-term presentations (a monthlong residency by the interdisciplinary trio My Barbarian, for instance) to installations (multichannel slide projections by Karl Haendel; a “hagiography” of the New Zealand noise rock band The Dead C) to onenight music shows, screenings, readings, CD releases, and sundry other events (the live filming of a tableau vivant created by Marnie Weber is one such example). While artist-run spaces have proliferated in Los Angeles for the past decade, McNulty sees Human Resources as part of a second wave of Do-It-Yourself outfits that emerged in the aftermath of the 2008 economic meltdown. “Even as opportunities were drying up, people were also already tired of ‘prescribed’ spaces for art, which is why I think there’s been a renaissance of performance, as opposed to commercial exhibitions,” he says. “We wanted to create an outlet for our friends and other people to make what we deem is exciting work, whatever shape it should take. “At CalArts I was friends with people from almost every other métier,” McNulty recalls. “I worked in the film school’s sound transfer lab and took a lot of film courses. After CalArts, I composed music for several films, and worked as a sound recordist, which took me to shoots in places like Ghana and Cambodia.” In addition to his activities with Human Resources, McNulty is completing a feature-length documentary called The Process Is the Thing. The film follows the making of five large-scale works by Marnie Weber, Matthew Barney, Xu Zhongmin, Ball-Nogues Studio, and Matt Hope. He is also a member of the eclectic Los Angeles quartet Mad Gregs, which this year released its second album, Relatives.
Morante started out at CalArts in the Scene Design Program but was urged by faculty to try his hand at designing costumes. A year after graduating, he launched his Marco Marco studio. “[Constructing a look] is such a rag-tag process because a lot of times we get requests for things that nobody has really made and we’re not really sure how to do,” he said in a interview with Forbes magazine. “We spend a lot of time at Home Depot and the grocery store looking for materials that are going to read a certain way on screen.” His initial training in theatrical design, instead of traditional fashion training, has been a boon to his work. “The big difference,” he explains, “is that fashion designers are taught to impose a concept, while costume designers are taught to amplify something already there.” courtesy of the designer
The brains behind the Hollywood-based studio Marco Marco, Marco Morante is the in-demand purveyor of outré original creations—often one-offs— favored by pop celebs who want maximum impact for stage shows, music videos, magazine shoots, and the red carpet. Among Morante’s memorable concoctions are Katy Perry’s famous cupcake bra (with hardware store caulking as frosting), the Samurai swimsuit worn by Nicki Minaj on the cover of Billboard, and Shakira’s trademark fringed chaps. Other clients include Fergie, Ke$ha, Mary J. Blige, and Diddy. His fashion lines, meanwhile are, “[a] tossed salad of comfort and pizzazz that’s a uniquely Angeleno uniform infused with calculated, off-the-cuff glamour,” said the la Weekly.
CalArts Magazine #12