Thursday, June 16, 2011

On Clothes | Khalil Gilbran

"And the weaver said, "Speak to us of Clothes."
And he answered:
Your clothes conceal much of your beauty, yet they hide not the unbeautiful.
...And though you seek in garments the freedom of privacy you may find in them a harness and a chain.
Would that you could meet the sun and the wind with more of your skin and less of your raiment,
For the breath of life is in the sunlight and the hand of life is in the wind.
Some of you say, "It is the north wind who has woven the clothes to wear."
But shame was his loom, and the softening of the sinews was his thread.
And when his work was done he laughed in the forest.
Forget not that modesty is for a shield against the eye of the unclean.
And when the unclean shall be no more, what were modesty but a fetter and a fouling of the mind?
And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.
("On Clothes" by Khalil Gibran from "The Prophet")

Monday, June 06, 2011

On Drawing | Corresponding with Yourself

In a letter to my dear friend Christopher I found myself sharing, at length, my motivations for revisiting drawing as part of my studio practice.

As I am nudging my career in a direction that feels good to me, I am realising that drawing will be central to my success. The very best and most successful clothing and costume designers in film, theatre, fashion, art, whatever - they all draw very beautifully. And as a tool, drawing holds such power. With a few simple tools and some paper an artist can share his vision and fully realize a range of ideas, feelings, and creative aspirations without spending a dollar or sewing a stitch.

And now, months later I have been working hard to maintain that rhythm by drawing daily if possible – and as often as I can from a live model. The pleasures of a more liberated studio practice are great. Having the time and space for this sort of thing sets my mind free and gives me a reason to continue studying the body and consequently finding new ways to decorate it – cover it – celebrate it.

Drawing has always been central to me and how I work. When I can’t say it, I can draw it. And if you ask my mother her point of view on this one, I know she would be quick to say that I “was born with a red crayon in my hand.” She’s right, I think I was.

By the time I made my way into undergraduate art school, I made a point of drawing as often as I possibly could. I loaded my schedule with every drawing class available, and when I wasn’t in class I would head back into the studio to draw more. Figure drawing in particular played – and continues to play a huge role in how I work.

For the past many years as I devoted myself to developing and building my menswear label, I found the time I was able to devote to drawing became less and less. At best I would keep a sketchbook – and even those ran dry for a period while I juggled fabric orders, wrangled patterns, coordinated events, and most importantly sold clothes. Each of those things has its merit and surely brought wonderful things into my life – but ultimately I still feel there is very little that is quite as satisfying and drawing.

My dear friend and truly skilled artist Kimberly Trowbridge had reminded me not so long ago that drawing is perhaps the most inherently honest thing we can do. With drawing there is no fooling. Such a simple equation – our hands, a drawing tool, and a piece of paper – yield incredibly pure results. We can’t fake it and we need not bother to try, because what comes of the process of drawing is so beautifully true to what we are seeing and how we are feeling that each and every mark should be celebrated and revered.

I’m now drawing two or three nights a week, and my sketchbooks fill quickly in the hours between. By giving myself permission (an invaluable thing that all too often we seem to take from ourselves) I feel the freedom to draw without restraint and without edit. I use affordable papers and simple tools because the drawings that come from it all are not what this is about – I’m investing in the process of drawing and the work happens there. The drawing is a document of it all.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Seattle Channel | INScape

A few weeks ago there was a knock at my studio door, and within a minute a very kind man was rolling a camera into the studio and beginning an interview with me about my experience at INSCAPE, Seattle's new arts and culture project that I also consider my creative home. The Seattle Channel's latest feature is quite great and I am pleased to be part of it all. Take a look!