This month, our curated collection of workwear is modeled by strong women of the Pittsburgh art world. Business as usual is anything but ordinary for these well-rounded gals, meaning a typical day calls for chic and versatile pieces that go from office to opening – all while exhibiting their unique style. Of all the marvelous things they’ve achieved, their magnum opuses are the profound impacts they’ve had in their field and in their communities.
Meet Dominique Luster
Tell us a bit about what you do.
I am the Teenie Harris Archivist at Carnegie Museum of Art. I’m an information professional, organizing and preserving records with great cultural and historic value. In this role, I am primarily responsible for the physical and digital preservation of the Teenie Harris collection at CMOA, which contains almost 80,000 black and white photographic negatives, 20,000 color materials, approximately 700 prints, over a dozen home movies, and almost 150 oral histories. It’s a massive trove from one of the great Black photographers of the 20th century. Additionally, I work with local and national organizations on incorporating Teenie Harris into their projects, which may often include installing prints of his photographs, or developing programming.
Who is your favorite artist, and why do you identify with them?
My favorite artist, naturally, is Teenie Harris (Pittsburgh, 1908-1998). For much of his life, Teenie never considered himself as a fine art photographer. He more so identified as a documentary photographer during the 30+ years that he worked for the Pittsburgh Courier. This is what draws me most closely to Teenie as a person, and to his photography work as an artist. He blended the genre between documentary photography and aesthetic fine art photography. Teenie’s images are beautiful works of art in their own right, while documenting all of the joys and the sorrows that come with life.
What are a few fun facts about yourself?
One of my favorite things to do during the summer is sitting out on the patio with a few good friends, some snacks, and a bottle of wine. I have been studying Shotokan Karate since I was about 5 years old, and am now a second degree black belt. I love to read. In fact, I own so many books, I am afraid to move.
Describe your personal style.
I like to describe my personal style as “if Michelle Obama were Southern.” Think simple, classic, solid but bold colored dresses. I will often take a solid color dress and add some color with a fun blazer or cardigan.
How do you see style as an art form?
Style can absolutely be an art form as it is the first representation of yourself people will see when you walk into a room. Some of the most basic elements of art and design that we learn in school, such as line, color, light, shadow, mood, and texture are all elements that can be applied to personal style. Our personal style is our outward representation of our personality to the world.
What do you like to wear to an art opening, gallery event, work meeting, etc.?
A Dress. I. Love. Dresses. I believe that there is a dress out there for every occasion and every season. Whether its an art opening (lighter colored and loose-framed dress with a cardigan), a gallery event (an after-5pm dress, probably mid-knee, with a solid bold heel), or a work meeting (solid colored dress, probably with pockets, and a neutral blazer), a dress is the perfect go-to fashion item for any occasion.
Pictured: On Celeste: Oh Say Can Museum A-Line Dress in Botanical Violet, Talking Picture Oxford Flat in Sky. On Dominique: Swanky Very Much Blazer in Chambray, Ever the Mentor Floral Dress, Cinch When? Belt in Gold, Condition Heel
Best career advice you’ve ever received?
“Trust the Process.” This was the motto of my undergraduate design professor and it has stuck with me ever since. Whether you are designing a set for a play or organizing a major exhibition, it is so important to remember to take a step back and trust the process. Often times in our work we feel overwhelmed or underprepared, but it is precisely in these moments when we must have faith in ourselves and know that these tests produce endurance; and that from endurance, maturity.
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