Happy Wednesday, my lovely ones! How was the week? Great fits, gorgeous art, good company? Fingers crossed.
I have an all-of-the-above to share, in the form of Oakland-based airbrush-artist Malcolm Stuart.
Malcolm’s airbrush art is found on pillows, in prints and—my favorite—in wearable form. He adorns shirts, hoodies and Dr. Martens with his specific brand of swirling, luridly colored airbrush art.
I asked Stuart to share his genesis story and creative process with us. Here’s what he said: “I started airbrushing in 2003, in NYC, when I was turned on to an airbrush artist who was looking for an apprentice. If it weren’t for that opportunity to learn from a master, I don’t think I would have ever taken to it. It’s really difficult. It took about 8 months of rigorous training before I barely had enough skill to start airbrushing fast and sloppy shirts. Eventually I was doing more refined work, and applying my new exciting skill to my own work.
“I draw much of my inspiration from direct observation of the world in its uncontrived states, like animal bodies and plants, natural forms, objects of daily life. My inner world of dreams, both day and night, feed my work, too. I look at art and fashion too, of course, but it’s rare that I find single sources I could label as inspiration. When I’m inspired by other artists’ work it usually doesn’t translate into my own in any clear sense. Sometimes it’s their methods, their way of thinking about their practice that inspires me, and not the work itself.”
He continued, “Lately I’ve been looking at the print work of Yoshitaka Amano for his ability to create complex and detailed worlds with energetic and seemingly unselfconscious, gestural marks. I excite myself when I make something that can’t be placed in ‘reality.’
“For me, fashion is to clothes what dancing is to walking. It’s the decision to elevate and play with what is otherwise a practical and mundane necessity. Fashion is making conversation with society on an intimate level, on the social level. Clothing is a non-verbal conversation. Not engaging with it, not finding your own fashion sense, is like wearing small talk. To me it’s a missed opportunity to connect and play with each other. George Clinton says it well in this Funkadelic song lyric, ‘Loan me your funky mind, and I shall play with it, for nothing is good, unless you play with it …’”
Check out Stuart’s work at malcolmstuart.com or @malcolmstuart.
Look as good as ever, everyone!