23rd June 2016 / Arts / by Chia Sihan

Breathing new life to icons with art

The relationship between art and fashion is a symbiotic one, especially when the two frequently draw on each other for inspiration and collaboration, such as Canadian artist Kris Knight’s reinterpretation of Gucci’s iconic floral print and Japanese artist and writer Yayoi Kusama’s Louis Vuitton collection featuring the artist’s signature bold polka dots and nets. The artist’s popularity is evident from overwhelming reception to her exhibitions around the world, even making strides in Singapore with a retrospective exhibition, YAYOI KUSAMA: Life is the Heart of a Rainbow. The exhibition is a collaboration betweenNational Gallery Singapore and Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art showcasing 120 of Kusama’s works spanning seven decades.

Having artworks presented in fashion is not uncommon, but let us shine a spotlight on 5 artists who have done otherwise – using fashion elements in their art.

1. Benjamin Shine

What he does: Portraits (and other artworks) featuring well-arranged and ironed tulle fabric

Benjamin captured the crux of fabrics in fashion, by manipulating the delicate, translucent tulle fabric into art. In his artist statement, he explained his technique “where the portrait image is created through the intricate pleating and pressing of a single length of tulle fabric” – the technique he has used for many artworks including portraits of master artists such as Rembrandt from the Baroque period and Andy Warhol from the Pop Art movement, famous figures and other private commissions.

Check out more of his works here

2. Alasdair Thomson 

What he does: Marble sculptures of dresses

With a fascinating play of textures in sculptures, Alasdair Thomson turns Carrera Marble (the same kind of marble used for Michelangelo’s David) into airy, lightweight dresses, sculpted after the clothes donated to him by his friends and family. In his work “The Identity Collection”, he explores “the way fabric hangs and folds, and is attempting to capture that lightness and gracefulness in stone.”

Check out more of his works here

3. Kelly Reemtsen

What she does: Paintings of ‘feminine’ dresses and ‘masculine’ tools

Incorporating fashion as a representation of femininity, Kelly has painted a series of women in flouncy dresses, holding household tools that are conventionally ‘masculine’. What is more curious about the artwork is how the women carry the tools with ease, looking comfortable — the tools do not serve to draw a stark contrast between femininity and masculinity, but rather, to draw a closer relation between the two.

Check out more of her works here

4.Ron Isaacs

What he does: Birch plywood paintings, of interesting blends of vintage clothing and plant materials

Ron Isaacs brought together three elements in each piece: vintage clothing, plant materials, and found objects. Drawing a focus to vintage clothing, he mentions in his artist statement about “the way it continues the life of the past into the present, for its rich structures and colors and shapes, and for its anthropomorphic presence as a stand-in for the figure”. The interesting juxtaposition often offers an area for thought, or a sense of visual poetry. What’s most fascinating is that he uses the Trompe L’Oeil technique to make birch plywood look like actual dresses – no fabric was involved in the artwork.

Check out more of his works here

5. Joseph Ford

What he does: Photography

Combining stunning aerial shots of landscapes and the fine details of studio-shot clothes and accessories, Joseph Ford shows us how fashion becomes one with the world around it. The zipper of the jacket seamlessly transforms itself into a railroad flanked by forests, while sand dunes grow in height and eventually become a sparkly gold knit sweater. Perfectly aligned and involving an incredulous amount of time and effort, he has created images for us to glimpse into a fascinating area of fashion.

Check out more of his works here

About the Writer

Chia Sihan

A story junkie by nature, this TFCS scribe thrives on uncovering the backstories of her interview subjects, whether they are heads of corporations or a working Mum caring for a child with a developmental disorder. She finds it a privilege to be privy to these personal experiences. Some of the publications she has written for include the Singapore Women’s Weekly, L’Officiel Singapore, and Harper’s Bazaar Junior. It is this genuine love for storytelling and collaboration that led her to kickstart her journey as a co-founder of The Fashion Collective Singapore. Now the chief storyteller at TFCS, she is particularly inspired by the personal journeys of TFCS Mentors, not to mention their dedication towards the refinement of their craft.

Head over to The Editor’s Journal to read articles contributed by Sihan.

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