Hackney artist Electric Adam brings wearable art to international competition

Electric Adam's piece for WOW. Picture: Neil Price

Electric Adam's piece for WOW. Picture: Neil Price - Credit: Neil Price for World of Wearable

Adam McAlavey’s latex costume creations are making the trip to New Zealand for the World of Wearable Art awards next week

Electric Adam

Electric Adam - Credit: Archant

Latex wizard Adam McAlavey is about to bring his wearable art from his Hackney studio to Wellington, New Zealand, where he is taking part to the World of WearableArt (WOW) awards on September 22.

He was a finalist in the competition last year, when he won the Performance Art Award thanks to a latex dress which was inflated around the model to create a living sculpture.

This year’s costume entry will be something as impressive as last year’s Queen Angel, yet less stationary.

“I decided to make a large latex vacuum piece that would make a big impression on stage but allow the performer to create their own character and be able to walk, jump, dance, whatever they want,” says Adam.

“It’s made from latex and rigid plastic. I had a character in mind while making it, a wild demon, a cross between the Tasmanian devil and the demons from Hellraiser.”

Film costumes, especially the outfit of sci-fi cult characters, have always been one of Electric Adam’s main inspirations.

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“The Storm Troopers in Star Wars, everyone in the Mad Max films, Ripley wearing the Power Loader in Aliens… these images really excited and inspired me and made me want to make my own costumes,” he says.

Other precious sources of inspiration are the armours he used to see as a child in castles around the country, alongside London’s museums, such as the V&A, where Adam was invited to perform in the past.

“I spend so much time in their cast courts getting inspiration.

“And the current Into The Unknown exhibition at the Barbican just blew me away, there’s so much great stuff in there.”

After years spent creating fetish costumes, Adam is trying to fight the misconception around latex through his art.

“In 2011, I opened my studio for Hackney Wicked and the overwhelming response was ‘I want to see these things live with you inside them’ so I started performing them as living sculptures,” he says.

“Fetish isn’t just about sexuality. It’s allowed me a freedom of expression I couldn’t find anywhere else.”


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