Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Q & A

Just thought this might be a little fun for you guys out there.
I had this sweet girl Lindsey in my High School 10-12th grade fashion workshop last week and for her senoir thesis she is working on a fashion portfolio.  To go along with the portfolio she has to do research and she asked me these following questions.  My answers are injected after each one.

1) How did you recognize you want to teach art? Recall what caught your interest in the field of art.

I remember having some amazing and encouraging art teachers of my own and wanting to give that same positive experiance to other young artists to let them know there are other options then normal university. As for my interest in Art, it was just always there. I loved colors and the way that people would express themselves through their art work.

2) How would you define fashion design?

Fashion design is designing clothing to follow or create trends, to inspire people by dressing them into garments that change their mood and other people's perception of them.

3) Do you agree that learning how to draw the human figure is essential to fashion illustration?

Yes, learning to draw the human figure is the basis for a lot of art, it helps you to understand movement, shape and muscle/structure. Even if you are drawing only the surface of garments you need to know how the bones and muscle hold it up and let it drape around the shapes.

4) What is the most important thing to learn in the field of art?

Drawing the human figure in my opinion

5) How important do you think art education is to becoming a better artist? Do you agree with the statement hard work beats talent?

Educating yourself is always the best way instead of just relaying on talent. If you have talent but can not reference or cite other current or past artists then you have no ground as an artist yourself. You have to be aware of what else is going on in your field before making judgement statements that are potentially damaging to your career.

As for hard work beating talent that is not usually the case in the art world. Just like some people are born atheletes some people are born artists. They have the innate ability for it which for some just can not be developed.

6) How do you differentiate your instruction for different skill levels?

Well each class has it's parameters that are expected of the students regarding skill level for my classes but of course there are always a mix of people above and below these. I clearly tell each class what the parameters are so that the people above the skill level realize what they are getting into as well as the people below. I do my best to work with both and make sure that they are satisfied with their experiance in class. I ask a lot of questions to make sure they are understanding what is going on. If they are confused or have another project I make time before and after my classses to meet with these students for individual help.

7) How did you decide you were interested in fashion? What did you have to do to get to where you are today?

I always loved to dress up and loved dressing up my barbie's and stuffed animals. I think it came from growing up watching soap opera's with my mom and seeing them all stylish and dressed up for everything. As for designing I figured that out in High school when I started to explore and take different art classes and learn other art forms outside of school as well.

It took a lot of hard work and confidence to get where I am right now. There is a fine line between confidence in your work and cockiness. If you know your talents, your history of the subject and your objectives you can be confident with where your work fits in. I worked very hard throughout high school and College to get to my level. I had to apply to my art school 3 times before my portfolio was accepted and I changed and improved it every time. In college it was always difficult and cut throat because you are competing against your classmates for competitions, scholarships and internships with designers while still trying to maintain friendships and professionalism. I also worked part time jobs outside to pay for my school supplies. Over night studio time was another staple into what I've become and the desire to learn. You have to be open and willing to ask your insturctors lot's of questions to get the most out of them. Learn from their years of knowledge before you make significant mistakes. After college it was motivation to get myself noticed. I do this by being active in the local art community, participating in photo shoots and applying to international design contests.

8) What might happen if you combine figure drawing and fashion design?

That is the basis of all fashion illustration. If you take it literally then you will have realistic figures dresed your designs which is a style few fashion illustrators use but it is out there. Check out "The Big Book of Fashion Illustration" to show you some ideas of how it is used.

9) Can you explain in your own words the process of fashion design? Can you describe the methods you use and why?

I always start with a mood board and theme. You have to have to make the theme very centralized because it is easy to interpet something completely different from beginning to end of the process and then your first and last piece will never connect. Currently I am working on a sea creature/sea anemone theme with a lot of knitwear. Being specific you might think puts you in a narrow viewpoint but that is when you have to expand your creative mind.

For example the Sea Anemone.
How does it move in the water then how does that translate to a fabric, I probably want to use something more fluid like a silk or light cotton that has movement and drape.

What are the colors and why? well usually the bright colors represent a poison or camoflague for protection, what do we clothe ourselves in for protection?

What are the shapes and patterns in the creature itself? It has repetative tentacles/arms, almost always symmetrical and circular or tubular shaped. So that will be the basis of my designs and how they will form and associate with the human body.

For the design you take one small specific thing and expand it until everything is exhausted. Sometimes it is just a word and how it affects you and others and what comes to mind with the word.

After I have my theme from that I usually have a good idea of my colors and fabrics, sometimes I need to add more in to make it more cohesive. Then I start to draw and figure out how many pieces I want to create and who my client is and where they would where it and when. Some people change their client base with everyone collection. I like to keep mine to a set range. I design for the fashion forward avant garde collector from their mid 20's up to the late 40's. Someone who wants to be comfortable yet still fashionable which is why I use a lot of knits. My client is a professional and involved in the arts or an art lover in some way shape of form.

Then I begin to drape or Knit my pieces together. It is all very organic though. I will start with Sketches but a lot of times the pieces come out very differently then what is illustrated. I prefer to drape rather then pattern draft in my work because I am a sculpture based artist. I was originally a sculpture/fashion double major in college and then Fashion was so time consuming I had to give over on Sculpture.

Everything is created by me from start to finish, every seam and stitch. I've had interns before but it took more energy to teach them my methods and studio style then usable work that I got out of them. For what I do it just was not worth it for me.

10) What is the importance of fashion design? How does it impact society?

Fashion design is a visual art just like everything else but it is one of the few that everyone is a victim/patron of. Clothes are neccessary in our society and you can portrayed by what you wear. Your choice of the clothing is very definate for a reason whether you know it or not. Everything trickles down from the Pret a porter fashion shows you see on the runway. It was explained perfectly in "The Devil Wears Prada" when Meryl Streep is describing to Anne Hathaway how her choice of sweater was actually chosen by someone from their magazine months before hand.

The way a person dresses always has a huge impact on how you feel about them. First it's the colors. You see Red and you think hot, sexy, out there. You see blue and you think normal. calm, peaceful. Then with different necklines and skirt lengths you add in other associations such a plunging neckline versus a turtle neck. The psychology behind what we wear and how we dress is all due to fashion.

**I feel like having someone so young interview me has been fun and refreshing from the questions that you might not normally get from an adult.  I think that answering an adults questions you assume that they already know a lot of the subject.  While having a kid interview me I have to think of how to explain things in terms that are more simplified and use a lot of examples that I wouldn't when talking to an adult. 

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