Words Stefania Tejada
How does fashion speak to you?
For me, dressing up or illustrating fashion, is a way to express how I’m feeling or my appreciation for the design of a specific garment or collection.
Where did you first fall in love with fashion illustration?
I started drawing from a young age, and I was always more interested in the garments that I would put onto my figures over anything else. This developed into a love for fashion design and illustration while in high school.
What does colour mean to you?
Colour is the principle that I most pay attention to when illustrating. Mixing colours a certain way or pairing certain hues together makes all the difference in creating something that will leave an impact on the viewer. It’s also a tool for expressing how I feel about a garment, or reflecting the mood of my subjects. However, when it comes to my choice of dress, I prefer to stick to neutrals and I am rarely seen wearing colours.
What do you intend to communicate through your work?
I want to share my love for my subjects with others. Whatever I’m illustrating, whether it be fashion-related or not, it is a subject/subjects that I am so excited to recreate in my own vision and create a homage to, through my own style.
Tell us about your technique.
First off, I need to say that I love acrylic paint more than anything else in the world. I slather this medium onto my canvases in layers, as to create an impasto effect and visual interest. I love my brushstrokes to be visible and rough, as well as multi-dimensional by loading my brush with several colours at one time. I have always been greatly influenced by the Impressionist and Fauvist art periods, and the techniques of Monet and Matisse have played a huge role in developing my own style.
How do you select the collections or outfits you want to illustrate?
My inspiration comes mostly from two sources; a variety of websites displaying the recent collections and my archive of older fashion magazines. From sites like style.com and social media platforms like Instagram, I see what’s current and illustrate what most catches my eye. The stack of old Vogues and ELLE mags in my closet are ones that contain some of my past favorite collections which I flip through occasionally to reminisce on a time when fashion was more experimental.
What are you working on right now?
Right now, I am in love with portraiture, so I’ve got a lot of faces lying around on my floor.
What is in your opinion the most outstanding collection of this season?
In my opinion, the best collection of Fall 2015 was Prada, bar none. The colour palette was sickly sweet, the accessories were divine and the hair was an architectural wonder.
Which brand would you like to collaborate with? Why?
Prada! I admire Miuccia Prada for her love and support of the arts, as seen in her collections and in the company’s cool marketing endeavors such as the recent Prada Raw campaign. She has also always presented a strong, unapologetic female muse season after season; one that can kick ass literally and figuratively while looking really, really chic doing so.
How do you capture the essence of the collections you illustrate?
I’m most attracted to a collection through specific design elements such as sharp lines, bold colours, or lots of detail; elements that work well with my painterly style. Depicting these strong characteristics helps me to convey the feel of the collection. I also read the reviews of collections to understand the inspiration for what’s been presented and pretend that each of my subjects has a story to tell through their facial expressions, body language, and/or the characteristics of my brushstrokes.
Would you say fashion is important in order to communicate who we are?
I think it is a wonderful method of self-expression, but it shouldn’t be the only way by which people learn to understand who you are. I feel that sometimes we are a little quick to judge solely by looks, by taking fashion too seriously. What you’re wearing on your feet shouldn’t be representative of what’s inside your head.
Is music an important part of your creative process?
It depends on what stage I am in during the creative process. During the initial stages when I’m conceptualizing the piece, I like there to be silence so I can hear myself think, but later on when I’m using paint in the final stages, I love to listen to blues music from the ‘70s or bossa nova that provides a calm but lively mood that helps me to lay down some cool brushwork.
What is it that you find so meaningful about fashion illustration?
I feel that any type of visual art is meaningful in the sense that it’s a form of expression. It can act as therapy and it’ s a great way to connect to people on a different, emotion-based level that often many are reluctant to talk about or share.
3 fashion illustrators we should know about.
My favorite fashion illustrators at the moment are @unskilledworker, Blair Breitenstein and Tanya Ling.
What’s your opinion about the huge impact social media has on young culture and creatives these days?
I think that social media is a fantastic, and necessary tool these days for young creatives. It’s an incredible way to reach influencers or possible future clients that otherwise would be hard to get into contact with, and also provides a network for creatives to see what everyone is doing and get inspired. It can be overwhelming sometimes to be on Instagram and Twitter and see the enormous amount of content being purged out, but somehow, it’s all being seen and gives you the opportunity to share your work with others.
What’s your perspective towards the art scene in Toronto?
The art scene in Toronto is very unique and surprisingly quite large. The reason I say it’s surprising is that I think it doesn’t receive the exposure that it deserves and because of that, artists and events can be overlooked. It would help if we invested more in developing the art community and emphasized the importance of visual arts through the implementation of more art programs or building more museums. I still think we have a long way to go before achieving more global recognition, part of that being because artists tend to leave Toronto and make a name for themselves elsewhere, but hopefully this will change in *my* future.
Do you visit exhibits and museums? What is the most outstanding exhibit you have visited so far this year?
Roaming around a museum is my ideal way to spend an afternoon. The most memorable exhibit I’ve seen so far this year has been the Basquiat retrospective, ‘Now’s The Time’ that made a stop in February at the Art Galley of Ontario. All the energy in Basquiat’s pieces left me inspired by his artistic talent and his strong personal character.
Who are you?
I’m still figuring that out! But for now I hope I can call myself an artist.