The Force.

For some time I have been contemplating what it’s going to take for the fashion industry to utilize fashion drawing in the present. Fashion in general tends to like to think of it as a quaint late great thing of the past.

There are shows in museums and galleries, several books, usually presenting groups of artists, some from the past, some alive and making work today. It’s all become a little too precious for me. This glass box that has been designated for what it is I do is just not a fit and it is my life’s work to break through and hopefully create for myself and others opportunities that allow for a much more expanded arena in which to work.

So this brings me to the latest Dior show. John Galliano presented for his SS 2011 couture collection an absolutely stunning homage to the Rene’ Gruau.

This collection said DRAW ME like nothing else. What a brilliant opportunity to totally immerse myself in all that was great about this period in a truly modern and bold way. In the studio I’ve been freezing and screen grabbing images from the show, printing out references, preparing to start a series that would answer the questions that have been rolling around in my head:“How can we include and revere the past in a way that truly serves the present moment?

“What makes a fashion drawing relevant, useful, and new now?”

“How to communicate in a way that pierces through the layers of resistance or dismissive attitudes around fashion drawing?”

“Really, what does this look like?” “How to present it?”

And then comes the “I love Hitler” thing. Really John Galliano? You love Hitler? You have to love Hitler now? When I’m in the middle of a project referencing your latest work? The whole thing is just insane and sad. I love John Galliano. Yes love. I’ve been inspired by him from the day he dumped water on the heads of the models he sent down the runway and blew everyone’s minds for his graduate show at St. Martins. But that’s the thing about being an illustrator, you get to love the great creators from a far. There is not much that we do that requires our actual physical presence, so it’s rare that we actually meet anyone in the fashion business unless you really want to. For me it’s all just a platform for me to take off from, a reference point to expand upon from the comfort of a grounded and secure place. Thank God my friends are all artists and yogis and for my little family, and for the Internet.

Anyway, so here I am with all my inspiration in the midst of this “scandal”. Do I abort and go and find another platform to jump off of? In general I’m a very -“don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater, take what you like and leave the rest” kind of person. I realize that many of my teachers/heroes have been deeply flawed human beings. Was Picasso a great guy? How many times have I watched “Annie Hall”? What would drive McQueen to end it all in his closet? Is Galliano inadvertently killing himself too? It sure feels like it.

It always comes back to the Truth. Inspiration is Inspiration. It does not “belong” to us, it is a force and this force is a mystery. Through “who” and when it is revealed is all beyond our doing and control. It can come through a healthy being as much as a sick one. So with this understanding I can work with the energy, the beauty that has been given. I can decipher what is pure spirit and what is not. As the energy of this collection pours through me it is obvious that “it” is not “the guy who loves Hitler” shifting the color, creating the shape, refining the line. It is not even “me” making the drawings. Inspiration and beauty and love are pure, impossible to be distorted even by the most twisted and distorted personalities.I’m going to continue my work inspired by this Dior collection because I am passionate about beauty and art and about how precious it is. It is worth my time and my life to exalt it no matter through what or whom it comes to me through. I will keep you posted how this is going but in the meantime here is a drawing from 2007 inspired by John Galliano for Dior. “Origami Dress”. I thought it was the most incredible thing.