Last year, I wouldn't have believed you if you told me that I was going to launch a clothing line in the fall. This year has been the wildest and has exceeded many expectations. I have spent a lot of time rethinking my role as an artist. It's a weird thing; these rules we create for ourselves and directions we choose to follow.
The "Henry Matisse : Cut-Outs" exhibition at the MOMA comes to mind when I think about what inspired me to do this clothing collaboration with Bonmot. Though Matisse's earlier work was much more painterly, his later work with the cut outs reveals another side of his thought process. I was fascinated by how Mattise could go from one medium to the next and not miss a beat. He was very experimental with his work ranging from painting, to wallpaper, stained glass windows and ceramic panels. That's a very diverse and bold span of work for a painter in the 1940's.
That being said, I wondered why I felt like I was holding back. Quite honestly, the biggest concern was perception. As a female painter, I feel that I need to be extra cautious with most aspects of my career. This includes everything from the selection of exhibitions/galleries, social media presence and the work itself. Depending on the work of the artist, I think it's much easier for a male painter to sell work at a craft fair or design clothing while continuing to maintain a respected studio practice. This concern is exhausting on so many fronts. Artists should be able to create work and do business however they want. I'm determined to break this barrier. For me, art is about freedom. Why would someone ever hold back on something that can be so limitless.
When Becky Rauth from Bonmot, first reached out and suggested we collaborate, I have to admit- I don't think I took our first meeting seriously. About half way through our meeting, things started clicking. Our conversation was fluid and we had a mutual respect for each others goals with this potential clothing line. Our next meeting was in the studio and that's when my mind started to race with ideas. I thought- How can painting represent movement? We were suddenly getting into a new dimension of art. Outside of sculpture and painting, there's feeling. How would someone actually feel wearing the garment? I was sold.
What began as an admiration for Bonmot's design aesthetics and my investigation in art as installation grew into a collaboration that allowed us to explore the intersection of art and fashion. This was not an easy transition. The process of turning my work into wearable prints was iterative. What's captivating on canvas, doesn't necessarily translate into a garment. Our curiosity fueled this line. The process involved numerous conversations about concept vs practicality as we attempted to find common grounds. The result was a series of pieces that exposed the raw energy of my paintings and Becky's curatorial eye for organized chaos within a print.
Once we selected the textures and composition from my painting, we documented the final section and manipulated the print digitally to ensure it repeated, making the textures appear seamless. This was a process of documenting paintings and editing. Aside from working digitally, we worked with physical forms that we played with as we studied placement. Once the final designs were created, we had several conversations about style and garment selection. We designed hang tags as well as the tags that would be sewn into the dresses.
One of the most important steps was getting our collaboration seen. We hosted a pop up shop in The Mission District of San Franscisco. We worked with Susan from Homework design to outfit the space for 4 days. It was really interesting getting to know the community. Our neighbors were very friendly and helpful. This was a collaboration in every sense. Friends from allover helped us with mentoring and spreading the word.
It takes a village. So many thanks to my friends that you should know about:
Alicia Lund : Fashion Blogger
Caroline Rooney : Model and stylist
Em Scott : Photography
Jen Kay : Photography
Miche Tan : Hair + Makeup
Molly Thompson : Styling
Nichole Ciotti : Fashion Blogger
Paula Thompson + Nick Rothman : Zekis Bar
Susan Work : Homework Design
Woody Hambrecht : Alysisan Wines
View and purchase our clothing line, here.