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Digging out of the underground

Money, success, fame and glamour: Just as the Party Monster fashion mantra defined the attitude of a couture-centered culture, the curators of Dirty But Sophisticated IV incorporate four elements of artistic vision – fashion, photography, hairstyling and visual art – in its fourth year, throwing the most stylish soirée in Ybor.

Dirty But Sophisticated is a mélange of art, music and fashion – three forces that do not normally combine for the purpose of a single event, despite their social overlaps. It is essentially an acclamation not only of individual talent, but also of the creative process as a whole.

If it’s been a while since your last visit to a museum, be prepared to drown in the creative juices flowing from the night’s featured artists. The dark, street-inspired cartoons of Cat Melynk and screen prints of graphic genius Brandon Dunlap make graffiti artists surrender their spray cans in hopeless shame. Evoking the spirit of surrealism, the art of Lynda Bostrom and Anthony Zollo steams with a chromatic intensity that makes the paint seem to seep like tears. Provocative, electric and in-your-face, these are not your average portraits.

Marina Williams’ photography captures the human angles of her subjects in both candid moments and special occasions, while the sharp fashion of designer Ivanka Ska reflects a similar international appeal.

The host of the evening, recruited right out of New York City, will be promoter and DJ Roxy “Oxy” Cottontail. Described on the event’s Web site as “the woman that every girl rocking Nikes and huge earrings longs to be,” Roxy’s rep continues to fill downtown clubs and land features in The New Yorker and BPM Magazine. Roxy has helped Diplo and Low Budget become New York’s most requested DJs, and her events have featured performances by underground legends Ghostface Killah and Slick Rick.

“The idea of making a party out of art has been wildly successful,” said event curator Becca Nelson. Nelson is the business partner of featured artist Jay Giroux and has worked to make Dirty But Sophisticated more conceptual. A small number of handpicked artists work together until the night of the event, while photographers document the experience. Fashion designers create several looks that reflect the show’s visual art. This collaboration makes the project cohesive, as every piece mirrors at least some aspects of another.

The challenge of displaying everyone’s work equally was eased by preparing a map of the fête’s layout, given to clubgoers as they entered. A new addition includes projection screens displaying process shots of the artwork throughout its creation. The midnight fashion show will feature a runway with a visual backdrop and audience interaction.

Dirty But Sophisticated first came to Tampa in 2005 as a fresh spin on art. It encouraged a relationship between people who don’t normally go to contemporary art museums as well as the young artist community. The project makes modern art accessible to new audiences by bringing art to Tampa’s club scene. The event is held every six to eight months and promises a new twist with every occasion.

Dirty But Sophisticated IV will be held on Saturday at Czar Vodka Bar, located at 1420 E. 7th Ave. in Ybor City. Doors open at 10 p.m. and cover is $15. For more information visit