Life Propaganda by Elyse Krista AnnaMarie Mische

I departed from Paonia a little over a week ago and I have been day dreaming about the magic ever since. I am eternally grateful for being selected by Elsewhere Studios and the Unicorn Arts Collective to receive the National Endowment for the Arts funded residency in Fashion Design. Thinking back to my experience my mind is continuously blow away.  In 2015 if you would have asked me, “where do you see yourself in 2016”, I never would have guessed Elsewhere Studios in Paonia Colorado. Have confidence in the wind, you’ll most always land exactly where you are meant to be.

I have this amazing (and slightly crazy) habit of signing up for tasks that are a few notches above my expertise because I always have faith that I am capable of rising to the occasion.  The idea of creating my first fashion line was initially daunting but Paonia has the ability to make an ant feel like Hulk Hogan…..and I body slammed the heck out of the task. Elsewhere Studios is not only an incubator for creativity and unhindered expression but also the perfect place to unearth buried talents and unleash success. The combination of high quality people, invigorating energy, and breathtaking mountain views creates an elixir that can surely launch any artist into a brighter future.

During my residency I took themes and symbolism from my 2D drawings and translated them into a series of 3D Live Drawings™, which ultimately became my fashion line, Life Propaganda. I used my love for mixed media to create 8 (literally) head to toe costumes and props that embodied ideas of time, life, death, wealth, the fine line between reality and unreality, and whimsy.  Each of my fabulous models bravely wore a handmade papier-mâché mask and garments made from repurposed teabags (over 1500 all collected by the Paonia community!), cut pleather and paper, and linoleum-block hand printed fabrics. I collaborated with fellow artists in Appleton Wisconsin to create original music (Joanna Dane and Tad Neuhaus) and projection designs (Len Eb). During the Saturday night show I ran around to the theater to catch a glimpse of my line; and let me tell you, seeing your own drawings hand dance to funky music in front of 200 people is a surreal and out of this world experience.  If you have never attended The Paonia Fashion Show, be sure to mark your calendars for next year, let’s hope things get weird.  

You can find images and video of my fashion line and view more of my creations at

I am back in Appleton Wisconsin for the summer, then off to Holden Village in Chelan WA for a mini residency, and to the Charles Adams Studio Project in Lubbock TX for a residency September 1st – January 1st. I will return to Paonia one day soon, be ready!

An enormous THANK YOU to: Sharon Bailey, Karen and Willow, The Unicorn Arts Collective, the National Endowment for the Arts, Sharon Bailey, Joyce Schrieber, Paonia and all the Paonians, my fearless models, and Sharon Bailey. This gold star, life enhancing experience would not have been possible without any of you, Namaste! 

photos by Desdemona Dallas Photos