Roxanna Walitzki: A Fond Farewell To Seattle
As we sat next to each other at Zeitgeist Coffee in Pioneer Square—myself with a double cappuccino whilst she enjoyed a hot berry-infused tea—I couldn’t help feel the terrible loss the Seattle fashion scene was about to endure.
Since her move to Seattle nearly five years ago, Roxanna Walitzki has made waves throughout the arts community. Naturally gifted, she has created a wealth of expression that has been voiced through music, fashion and photography. While her areas of interest have shifted throughout the years, one theme has remained consistent: Duality.
Her long-running self-portrait series interweaves fashion, fine art and musicality with the delicacy and certainty of a confident artist. And her music, both classical and modern, paints imagery with subtle strokes, dark tones and a deep reverence for the rich history of classical music in general, and of her European heritage specifically. Perhaps an ironical position from a self-proclaimed “operatic iconoclast.”
But her love of history has certainly made a place for modernity, just as her deep love of romantic imagery has given place for pain. Or perhaps it’s the other way around. Still, it’s a duality of existence that finds expression in the acknowledgement of the reality of impenetrable suffering and the willingness to rise above in pursuit of hope and beauty. And it is her obvious beauty that makes such an investigation so potent and affecting.
In her self-portrait series, Roxanna found resonance with editorial fashion, both for its sculptural and etherial aesthetics. While she doesn’t have a formal fashion design background, it hasn’t stopped her from creating stunning couture gowns, largely from repurposed and recycled materials.
She recalls her intentions were purely photographic in nature—but the trajectory of her creativity has been steadily forming concentric circles around fashion for some time. And though she has no current plans to pursue fashion design specifically, her work thus far is clearly influenced by her deep admiration for the life and work of Lee McQueen.
Roxanna recalls attending Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2011. While overwhelmed by the magic of the experience, she was drawn to the Widows of Culloden exhibit and to master milliner Philip Treacy’s antler and lace headdress specifically. It was during this time that she pursued her Masters in Vocal Performance at NYU. Hindsight now clearly reveals the great alchemy that ensued from the visual and aural intermingling.
And it felt like the interview had only begun when it was time for us to part ways. The conversation hinted at what was clearly a deep reservoir of creative intuition. But as I quickly sipped at my cooling cappuccino, Roxanna was kind enough to provide insight into her creative process.
“I’m very interested in the psychology of things,” she admits. “It’s all about emotion.” And while she finds synergy in collaboration, Roxanna prefers the autonomy of self-expression. She is highly analytical and intelligent, spending time in deep contemplation. Yet, the act of creation itself is often immediate, vibrant, energetic and visceral, requiring little aforethought or preparation.
Her latest music video was filmed on location during a road trip through the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. She recalls having the concept for the location and the dress and then filming the video in an afternoon with her iPhone. The dress itself was provided by local fashion design studio Stone Crow Designs.
“It all just happened really quick,” she remembers. Her sister Redd Walitzki, herself an accomplished artist, served as D.P. in this latest in a history of creative collaborations between them.
The music itself is an original arrangement of "Verborgenheit" by Hugo Wolf, with soundscapes that ebb, flow and slither effortlessly around her fully engaged mezzo-soprano. With subtle touches reminiscent of Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross’ cinematic offerings, her music is itself cinematic, offering yet another avenue for her creativity to thrive.
It’s for these and many other reasons that Seattle is losing a great talent and accomplished artist with more beauty to share than there are mediums to contain it. But all is not lost. Roxanna will be performing live at The Rendezvous this Friday, February 1st at her farewell concert before returning to Europe on what will likely become the next phase in her evolution.
For tickets to her final Seattle performance, follow this link to The Stranger’s online ticket service.
Follow Roxanna on Instagram for the latest in her travels.
Images copyrighted by Roxanna Walitzki and used with permission.