Francis Roces on finding one's path and the art of balancing art and commerce

Model Cameron shows off a KimonoDragons menswear design by Francis Roces.
Model Cameron shows off a KimonoDragons menswear design by Francis Roces.

Editor's note: Longtime Denver fashion designer Francis Roces, whose brand name is KimonoDragons, is half of the inaugural pair of PAIR residents at Denver's Powerhaüs Studio. As part of his three-month residency, he and his fine-art counterpart, Charlie Boots, will be reporting from the real world via Show and Tell, as they learn the ropes from studio mentors Mona Lucero, Lauri Lynnxe Murphy and Jimmy Sellars. Applications are now being accepted for the second PAIR residency though September 15; visit the website for details. Roces's latest post follows.

See also: - Francis Roces on the Apocalyptic Ball, breaking your own rules and finding a groove - PAIR resident Francis Roces on designing to a different drummer and sticking to it - Francis Roces on KimonoDragons, the thrill of the runway and needle-and-thread inspirations

Francis Roces on finding one's path and the art of balancing art and commerce

7/30/13Another week is on its way, and another month is about to end. Things come, and things go. That is life. I am writing this blog to talk about things in my life. I am adjusting to the decisions that I have made in the past. Since I have been laid off from my server job, I have been trying to make things work on a limited budget. There are days where I wished that it was just me and my sewing machine. But bills can only wait for so long, and the complications of being in a long-term relationship come a-calling.

Today, I worked alongside my life partner at his work, and I got to see how he spends his days. It was nice to see a day in his work-life. He told me that he liked having me around because I made things easier for him. I answered the phone and handed him tools as he installed window tints at homes in Parker and Highlands Ranch. That made a full day. Lately, I have been traveling lighter and looking for ways to get rid of stuff. I have donated a quarter of my closet to a local thrift store and disposed of 75 percent of my magazines. It might be because I am getting older and things that interested me in the past no longer hold my attention.

Since I have been in the PAIR program at the PowerHaus Studio, I have been using fabrics that have been in my stash for good, long time. I am progressively going through my patterns and sorting them out. I have been sewing as much as I can and working on future collections. I'm getting more selective on the shows I do and not worrying about what people say. I know who I like working with and who I'd rather not talk about. Like the saying goes, "If you don't have anything good to say, don't say it at all."

Continue reading for more from Francis Roces.  

Francis Roces on finding one's path and the art of balancing art and commerce

8/7/13I don't seem happy unless I am under the gun. This week is half over, and there is no end to my madness. I need to have a children's collection ready to be picked up by Friday at noon, and I am dealing with a pattern issue for one of the outfits for young boys. This morning, I assisted at a job site with a good friend, and that was an experience; this didn't even involve fashion at all. I spent the afternoon doing a photo shoot with a new male model, who turned out to be a very nice young man. Now I am writing this blog, which I should have already done by this morning.

So many doors opening for me here in Denver -- I have been counting my blessings and thank God on a nightly basis. Last week I went through the trial of having my sewing machine break down and buying a new one. The week before that my serger broke down and I had to deal with that bowl of happiness. I have accepted that every day, I will be receiving trials and blessings in equal doses. I treat each encounter with an open mind and with as little drama as possible.

Francis Roces on finding one's path and the art of balancing art and commerce

At the end of this month I will be renting space at the PowerHaus Studios, and then I got an offer for a storefront space, but for more money. It is the storefront space I have been wishing for, but the timing is wrong. For me, money is very tight and paying rent for two spaces and regular rent is not close to my reality. This afternoon, I was contacted to be a sponsor at a fashion show fundraiser in September, but it costs. I was told that I would be able to make that money back at the vendor booth, comes with the sponsor deal. She said that she is willing to work something out and that is a plus. This is something I really need to think about, and things would change if I happen to find a steady paying job. All the free time I have now is going to be mostly gone, and I would be back to micromanaging my weekly schedule. That is a job in itself! The life of a struggling artist is nothing like it is in the movies, and I always come across small hints of what would happen if I became homeless. I do not like what I see.

Once again, I am back to the balancing act: balancing art and commerce; work and personal life. Trying to find ways to make things and projects work in harmony with my personality. Now, it's time to get back to sewing, because there is only so much time in the day. -Francis Roces, 2013

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