A T for You?
Or Two for T?
I've spent the past several weeks, once a week, taking a sewing class at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT). I finished sewing my first skirt a few days ago (it's currently being graded) and I'm starting to learn how to sew a button down shirt. Since I was very young, I've wanted to pursue fashion in some capacity -- let me rephrase this -- I wanted to become a fashion designer. I also wanted to become an animator, and a photographer, and an art director, and a teacher, and a writer,
It was no coincidence that when I first began illustrating at more a steady pace that many of my clients were rooted fashion and lifestyle. That's because this was the type of work that I wanted to create; not wholly, but it definitely represented a significant part of me that needed to be expressed creatively. I would go to clubs and lounges and bars very often. I did this all throughout my twenties, mostly in Toronto; buzzing at after-hours, warehouse parties, and whatever else was going on during that time. And so, this environment housed the fashion-type of influences and information that fueled the kind of illustration work that I did during that time.
But over time, like with many things done in excess, it shifted towards a place where the feelings that I felt at the beginning, lessened into a mood that was not as thrilling; a kind of law of diminishing returns.
I have always tried to allow my decision-making to be guided by my gut by paying attention to how I'm feeling while I'm working. Recently, it's learning how to sew, in a more formal way, and honing my silk screening skills that has lifted my studio practice to another level. I'm close to finishing a set of T-shirts, that I would like to sell in the next several weeks. Hopefully in time for the holidays, but if not, then no big deal. There's no rush, only hope that I can introduce this part of my personal work onto a commercial platform.
In the photo above is a T shirt that I made out of (cotton) jersey, patterns and all, completely finished on the insides with french seams. It's not the final prototype, but it's close, and it's done, but I don't have a photograph of it, yet. The image some of you may have see before, done both for the Spank boat party this past summer, as well as for Ringling's Illest event, was created here in my studio originally as an illustration, that I later turned into colour separations to be made into a silkscreen. I know these details are slight, and really, it may not matter to many, but to me, it's important to be aware of the craft component that supports a product, and artwork, design, and illustration.
I was listening to NPR yesterday, as I often do, and Annie Leibovitz was a guest on The Brian Lehrer Show. Near the end of her interview she said that "...(even).. if you have talent, it can go away... you have to nurture it."
After having worked 11 years freelancing as an illustrator with 4 years of art college and 1 year of university education under my belt, I'm conscious of staying engaged in my process; being mindful of how I choose to nourish my creativity, so that it will extend into longevity.