On Creating Outside Of The Usual Box

Nov 1, 2013 | Creativity

lady gaga bone bustier

(the bustier that Lady Gaga wore in her Applause video, made in under 24 hours)

Creativity.  Inspiration.  Sometimes we are full, other times we wait for the divine to tap us on the shoulder to make things. But, that’s not how it works in the world of professional art, or in life in general.  How do artists rise to the occasion of creating “on demand” rather than on one’s own inspired time?

Parker Voss co-designed this bustier with the brilliant Olivier Theyskens for a Lady Gaga video in one full day’s time. Considering the magnitude of the project, given that it had to be extraordinary, the process had to be allowed rather than forced… but it had to get done!   Here, Parker shares what lessons came from a rush of creativity…including a brilliant finished form!

Often a project needs to be completed whether or not we know how it’s going to be seen to completion. The important ingredient is that we know we can, and that we must start anyways. With or without all of the proper tools, or the sure knowledge of how well it might turn out.

When designer Olivier Theyskens asked me to co-design and build a ‘bone bustier’ for a recently released Lady Gaga music video, we had 24 hours to finish the costume. That’s almost no time to execute an elaborate project without materials in hand, let alone any time at all to sit and stress about it.

The main directional cue for the structure was that it involved ‘bones’, and finding them in a flash almost had us knocking at butcher’s doors throughout New York City. Given the project’s rush factor and obscure nature, the process of building it became an awesome lesson in creating outside of the usual box. Here’s what I pulled from this experience:

bone bustier

Creativity can be energetically demanding, involving time, people and resources.  It doesn’t always but at best requires teamwork. Few geniuses can pull it off in a complete way all alone. I know that this costume would not have reached full development without the two of us on board.

Confidence can likely be gained throughout the process. We didn’t have prior experience using bones as a medium, but we did know we could create using just about any material. Two bones connected together became three then four, and a structure we believed in started to appear.
Learning accompanied by laughter keeps the mind free-flowing and enthusiastic. Whenever things started looking weird, we laughed it off and found another route to a solution.
Limiting factors can be helpful blessings in disguise. They force you to be extra creative, even inventive. The imagination can be more useful than power tools at times, and we learned to never overlook the strength of a little glue and fishing wire.

Work with what is readily available or can be sourced without delay.  Preparation is key, though getting going is often more important. Had we not been able to immediately source the prosthetic bones (which was a timing miracle), we may have gone to making them with paper.  
The answer might very well be beyond the boundaries of what you think you have or can do. We used a mirror for an alternate look to pinpoint obvious visual imbalances and to decide where to keep building.
A step-by-step approach keeps you present and in enjoyment of the process. Just when we thought we had another move to make, we called the project complete.

And completion itself is such a sweet reward … the final bustier ended up being styled differently than originally intended, yet another example of how to create unconventionally/from a different perspective.


Parker Voss is a New York native, Georgetown-educated artist and designer, Reiki master, and trilingual explorer of the world and wellness.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Latest Posts



Share via