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2022 ArtPop Street Gallery Artist Edelweiss Vogel's students are sending their artwork into space.

Keeping Up with Edelweiss Vogel


Edelweiss Vogel 350px.jpgYou are one of the pioneers of eco- couture designers in Charlotte. How did you start the group  Eco - Couture Designers?”

In 2010, I was an art student at UNC Charlotte, and I met an artist from Mooresville, Flavia Lovatelli. I reached out to her when I learned she would be participating in Charlotte Fashion Week using recycled materials. That was the beginning. She became my mentor, and we started a group called The Art Ecologie Group. Each year we produced a fashion show called ecoFab. We invited artists to create an outfit made entirely from recycled materials.

“ecoFAB Trash Couture is about the collective voice that resounds stronger and louder in the effort to bring awareness back to art. It’s about the community, about our collective beliefs, about each other. The Art Ecologie premise is to promote one another in our individual art in bringing attention to who we are by different means, different vehicles. We are all artists, different in our media, our techniques, our voice, we all have one thing in common, passion for creating and the ability to step outside our everyday skills to bring something different as a group.” (info from the FB Page: @ecofabtrashcouture)

Tell us more about your group. Who are the members, and what shows have you done here and abroad?

The founding members are Flavia Lovatelli, Marcee Musgrove, Monique Luck, and myself. I remember when Flavia pitched our proposal to the Queen City Soup several years ago. We were able to receive a microgrant, and we used it to produce a show. A few years ago, Flavia moved to Columbia, SC, and Marcee moved to Savannah, GA. Flavia is still active producing the annual ecoFab. We’ve done shows at The Mint Museum, Davis Theater hosted by Cabarrus Arts Council, Ballantyne Village, and many more. My favorite one was the event at The Mint Museum during the Vivo Moschino exhibit. Flavia and I were able to teach some children how to make an outfit made from recycled materials, such as paper and plastic. The last show I did with the group was the 2017 ecoFab at the Tapps Gallery in Columbia.

I joined another group called Opera Recycles, founded by Megan Miller (@Marketing_Mezzo). Opera Recycles sponsored the designers to go to Paris for Paris Fashion Week in 2019. I did several shows with them at the Bechtler Museum, Boom Festival, and Charleston Fashion Week, among others. Megan also recommended us to create a piece for the National Pediatric Cancer Foundation in 2019.

What shows are being planned, now that things are opening back up?

I have a pop-up show with ArtPop class of 2022 at Le Meridien hotel on June 11. I’m also one of the commissioned designers for the 2022 ArtPop Upcycled Fashion Show scheduled for Saturday, September 10. They will provide me with a retired ArtPop Cities Program billboard vinyl that I will transform into one wearable fashion on the 7th annual fundraiser. Proceeds from the event will go directly toward their mission of showcasing local artists, equipping them to achieve sustainable success, and making art accessible to all. I did a similar show with Adams Outdoor back in 2016, in which I created a dress made from an old Coca-Cola billboard they had taken down.

What do you think is the biggest accomplishment of the group?

Being able to collaborate with other artists and help them succeed was the biggest accomplishment of the group. We encouraged artists to recycle and use those as the main materials to create artwork.

What else have you been up to?

Last month, I was invited to speak at the foundation day of my high school in the Philippines. In April, I was invited to be a guest speaker for UNC Charlotte Senior Seminar. Being selected as an inspirational speaker for my alma mater (high school and university) was very important to me, because I was able to reflect as an artist and alumna.

You have been teaching art for some time now. Where are you teaching now?

I teach at The Brawley, an IB World School in Mooresville, NC. I have a group of diverse students, and I’m very grateful. My students are also  making dresses made from recycled materials. We just finished an Art Showcase, and I have three students who created dresses made from newspaper, plastic, and scrap yarns. I showed them my work to inspire them. I also have 7th grade students who are making dresses made from papers for their personal projects.

I hear you were selected to prepare some art work by your talented students to be sent into space! How did this come about, and what is the purpose?

My students were asked to create postcards that will be mailed to Blue Origin. “On the next scheduled launch, student postcards will be loaded into New Shepherd’s payload and flown into space! Once the flight into space is complete, Blue Origin will stamp each postcard as “Flown in Space” and return them to students to keep as a space souvenir.”

The theme of the postcard is about light. We are participating in a global initiative of UNESCO’s International Day of Light (May 16). The idea is to show evidence of the connection between Art and Science through combining the Superintendent’s Art Show with UNESCO’s International Day of Light. Our District’s Fine Arts Coordinator, Courtney Frasier, delivered this exciting news. She organizes the annual Superintendent’s Art Show. I’m grateful to Mrs. Frasier! Her dedication to the community is one of a kind! She is really inspiring.

How do you inspire your students to spur their artistic creativity?

My students are wonderful. They are very inspiring, and I learn so much from them. Art is a core class at the IB school, which means students take art for one year, and it’s treated like English and math. In art, we talk about how art helps develop identity. It’s about communication, change, and aesthetics. I always make sure that they always start with who they are. This way they will take ownership.

ArtPop Digital Billboards
Edelweiss on her selection as a 2022 ArtPop Artist

NOTE: ArtPop is a nonprofit organization that showcases local artists by featuring their art in public spaces. Through generous commissions with corporate partners they create paid opportunities for artists while creating public art projects for all to enjoy. (info via Artpop)

My artwork highlights one of the native groups in the Philippines called T’boli, known for being the dream weavers. I wanted to celebrate the culture of T’boli by creating a portrait of a girl (family member) wearing a headdress that I hand wove. The handwoven headdress was one of my fiber art projects when I was an undergrad student. I'm fascinated by their culture and wanted to share it with the community.

My artwork is  featured inside Charlotte Douglas International Airport, CEN Media movie theaters nationwide, the Awedience Media display at Ballantyne Village, Uptown Skybridge, South Park mall, and Red Truck Media at Langtree Exit 31 off I-77 and Harris Blvd, exit 18 on I-77 southbound (solo vinyl billboard).

Artpop also connected me with Digital-Out-Of-Home (DOOH), a billboard advertising company in the Philippines. I was only 18 when I left the Philippines, and I didn’t have an opportunity to showcase my work when I was there. So I was extremely excited when I found out that DOOH displayed my artwork in Edsa, Magallanes, Makati, and Ortigas, Philippines. I wasn’t able to see it personally but I felt that I did my part as a Filipino artist. I’m very proud of my artwork showcasing the rich Filipino culture.

I also have an upcoming group Pop Up Show  on June 22 in the lobby of  Le Meridien Hotel  from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm. It is an amazing opportunity for people to see my work and interact with me.  Sales made during the event will go 100% to the artists. I’m planning to give some percentage of my sales from selected artwork to the victims of super typhoon Rai (Odette) in the Philippines. The show is free and open to the public.

I was also invited to participate in a Fashion Show hosted by ArtPop. The materials that I will be using to create a piece is a vinyl billboard from one of the clients of Adams Outdoor, one of the generous sponsors of ArtPop.


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