Trek Thunder Kelly - Artist

Art Categories

Performance Art Samples

Tuxedo Phase

The Tuxedo Phase Book

The Tuxedo Phase (1999) - Excerpts

"... I wore a tuxedo everywhere, everyday, for a year. The parameters were this: black tuxedo jacket, black tuxedo pants (with black ribbon stripe), vest (no cummerbund), bow or necktie, tuxedo shirt, studs, cuff-links, white underwear, black socks, shiny black shoes. I had to wear the outfit at all times, unless I was in another country (to avoid probable mugging), or sick. At the gym I donned a modified version, black shoes, black socks, black shorts, white shirt. I wore a tux under my black ski gear. I eventually acquired about 15 full tuxedos, and would mix and match the slight differences to augment the appearance of broader diversity. ..."

"... An interesting aspect of wearing the tuxedo was the immediate, internal explanation people would provide themselves. Little kids at shopping malls gave chase thinking I was a magician, people at restaurants prodded me for water or handed me their car keys, cashiers asked what wedding I was going to, bouncers breezed me through the lines at hot clubs as if I was coming from an awards show. In each circumstance, decision and behavior were related to my appearance... all were examples of pre-constructed realities that people projected on me in an effort to understand and categorize, as efficiently as possible, what they were experiencing. However, this construct broke down the more frequently they encountered me. I could see them struggling 'Wait, I saw this guy yesterday at the Buffalo Club, why is he wearing a tuxedo at Fedex?' - Was I a limo driver? An under-taker? The very nature of the art, its repetition, is what gave it resonance. For a few moments, people would stop and question their judgment, and maybe, look at the world a little differently. It was amazing how much reverberation such a simple choice could cause. Some friends of mine were at a dinner party in New York, several years later, and one of the guests was from L.A. My friends inquired how he liked New York, and what made him decide to move. He said, 'I had to get out of L.A., too many weird people there... this one guy wore a tuxedo everyday.' ..."