LGBTQ Atlanta designer and model make a statement in wearable art

Johnny Addison never expected his love of reinvention to re-set his forward course toward the future. But Mugshott Cheryl had other ideas.

“’Cheryl’ is my cosmetology mannequin that evolved into my artistic outlet during ‘me’ time,” Addison tells Q. “When people are too much, and I need to disconnect, Cheryl doesn’t talk back.”

But the inanimate object does have a lot to say as a muse, the Atlanta hair stylist admits. “She” inspired his off-duty work creating reimagined, thoroughly modern accessories and full looks from reclaimed jewelry. 

“My pieces are one of a kind that cannot be replicated,” the artist (photo, left) says. “Along with natural quartz crystals and gemstones, piece by piece I take apart antique and vintage jewelry, which is then carefully constructed into an amazing piece of wearable art. 

“‘Cheryl’ turned into me making masks which then lead into making body harnesses,” he continues. “Each piece has an individual statement of its own, and they definitely don’t go unnoticed.”

As seen in this week’s Q magazine photos below by contributing photographer James L. Hicks, the results are stunning. They’re made even more-so here by makeup artist William Rizzuto and the model, Atlanta’s own self-described “unapologetic, queer, vegan, trans, drag queen activist,” Xt Venus Valentine.

“It was such a fun shoot, and James and Johnny are both wonderful to work with,” Valentine says. “I love how intricate and unique each piece is, plus he's up-cycling and giving new life to old, unused materials which I love. 

The attention, which stems originally from sharing social media postings of the work, is still setting in for Addison. His pieces range from $150 to $2,000 and up, but he really just started doing them simply because he loves it. 

“I wanted to use Instagram as a platform to only post my art. No politics and no opinions,” he says. “It resulted in a new path that I never knew could be a possibility for me. I’m an average person who likes to take things that were once pretty and loved and turn them into something new that someone will love and take care of for a long time. 

“If this can happen to me, then anyone’s dreams can happen,” he asserts. “Just be compassionate to one another and try to love everyone.”

The effects of his efforts are palpable to those who wear his accessories. Just ask Venus.

“I felt powerful, elegant and editorial,” she says.

In this case, editorial in a literal sense. Keep scrolling to feast your eyes on Q’s unique collaboration of artist, model and photographer. 

Find Addison’s Muggshot Cheryl work on Instagram and Facebook @MugshottCheryl. Catch Xt Venus Valentine in shows including My Sister’s Room and Edgewood Corner Tavern.

Accessories by MugshottCheryl

Photos by James L. Hicks

Model Xt. Venus Valentine

Makeup by William Rizzuto

This feature originally ran in Q magazine. Read the full issue below, pick up your hard copy, and find a new edition each week.